CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan— Enemy insurgents continue to operate in Helmand province, Afghanistan. To mitigate this threat, infantry units conduct security patrols to build relationships with locals in the surrounding area of Camps Bastion and Leatherneck, and to rid local routes of improvised explosive devices.
Marines and sailors with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, donned their gear, mounted in Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles and convoyed approximately three hours south of Camp Leatherneck for a 24-hour security patrol, Aug. 23-24.
“I feel it was successful,” said Cpl. David Calle, a native of Miami, Florida, and assistant patrol leader with Bravo Co. “Today we got to talk to a couple locals and build rapport with them for future operations. The more people we can talk to the better our relationship will be while working with them, which gives us a better chance to find hidden IEDs in the area.”
Patrolling throughout Helmand province remains dangerous but necessary for the security of the base.
“It is very important that everyone pays attention at all times,” said Cpl. Kevin Midgley, a machine gunner with Bravo Co. “There are no guarantees. I am constantly relying on my brothers to watch my back as I watch over theirs.”
Infantry Marines are thoroughly trained during predeployment training on what to look for. During several classes, they are taught what IED indicators look like, as well as the protocol for coming across a possible IED.
“When there is a possible threat in the area, it is always better to get a visual confirmation on the threat before coming to a conclusion that could cost us time or put ourselves in more of a dangerous situation,” said Midgley, a native of Cleveland.
Mivgley also stressed the importance of vehicle maintenance and preparation prior to conducting mounted operations in the area.
“Before each operation, the vehicles are prepped and checked thoroughly to make sure there will not be any incidents three hours away from base,” said Midgley. “Everyone with Bravo Co. has been properly trained, and we are ready for anything during future operations.”
First Battalion, 2nd Marines deployed to Afghanistan during May from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The Marines and sailors will continue to patrol the surrounding area of the Bastion-Leatherneck complex to ensure the safety of coalition forces operating on the bases until full security responsibility of the area is transferred to the Afghan National Security Forces by the end of the year.