“We take it all,” US Marines pack up in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Blackie, May 13, 2013.

  1. Blackie

    Blackie Banned

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    “We take it all, We take our Marines and sailors and we take our gear. What we can’t recycle, we burn.”

    US Marines pack up in Afghanistan as Taliban wages spring offensive - World News

    By Jim Maceda, Correspondent, NBC News

    It was the summer of 2012 and the most dangerous part of the mission – when soldiers get complacent and make mistakes. So, even in 130-degree heat, Cpl. Randy Derstine and his men of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, patrolled hard in the mountainous, heavily disputed Kajaki Dam area of Helmand province.

    Between missions, they broke their remote firebase down to the nails and plywood. They were going home. Derstine’s commanders explained that this was not your usual “RIP” or swap-out with a follow-on unit. (In the military RIP stands for “Relief in Place” – not “Rest In Peace”).

    This was nothing less than the end of an era – U.S. Marines had been active in Helmand since the spring of 2008, when a pre-surge Marine company inserted by helicopter into the Taliban stronghold of Garmser.

    Over the past five years, successive Marine units pushed Taliban fighters from their dug-in positions in the "Green Zone," the fertile, built-up areas along the Helmand River.

    Fighting in the birthplace of the Taliban was often fierce – at least 500 Marines died, more than 4,500 were wounded – the highest casualties among U.S. fighting forces in Afghanistan. But now it was almost over.

    By July this year, Afghan forces will be in charge of security throughout the country. And by the end of 2014, U.S. Marines will be out of Afghanistan and back at their home bases.

    As the rest of the U.S. military draws down, it must grapple with the logistical nightmare of figuring out what to do with 1.38 million pieces of equipment: What is fit to be repacked and sent home versus what is beyond “use by” dates or too costly to ship, and will be left behind.

    But for the Marines, it’s a much more clear-cut issue. “We take it all,” explained Col. James Clark, standing in a triage area at Camp Leatherneck, the Marines’ headquarters in Helmand.

    “Lithium batteries, armor, lubricants. We take our Marines and sailors and we take our gear. What we can’t recycle, we burn.” According to Clark, the massive recycling will save the U.S. taxpayer some $150 million. “It’s a pretty good bargain for the American people,” Clark said.

    More than ten years after the beginning of the war, Afghanistan faces external pressure to reform as well as ongoing internal conflicts.

    Weeks later, when Derstine’s unit flew back to Camp Lejeune, N.C., they reunited with their loved ones and each took a well-deserved month of leave. Derstine and his wife, Alexi, found a new apartment. They enjoyed homemade smoothies and DVD movies. Both share a passion for running and in October they competed in a half-Iron Man triathlon.

    But, before long Derstine was back training, this time for deployment with the Marine Corps Special Operations Command, sometime this spring. The 21-year-old Pennsylvanian’s dream of becoming a Special Operator was coming true.

    So far, the fears of the Afghans Derstine left behind – that the Taliban would take back Kajaki as soon as the Marines left – have not come to pass. Though his full battalion of about 600 Marines was replaced by a single company not even half that size (the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.) the local Afghan Uniformed Police have taken up much of the slack.

    They have proved to be an effective, self-starting force – going toe-to-toe with the Taliban, holding what the Marines had cleared and even taking ownership of other contested areas on their own.

    U.S. military officials say they believe there are currently some 3,000 to 4,000 Taliban fighters in all of “Regional Command Southwest” – the heart of the fight in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. But they face about 20,000 Afghan soldiers and 9,000 police, supported by the 1/1 Marines.

    It’s late spring, so the new fighting season has just begun. U.S. commanders say they hope the Taliban gets their message: You’re outnumbered and outgunned – it’s unwise to push the fight. But Taliban commanders know that winning back the Kajaki Dam area would mean owning the precious water and source of power for the whole region.

    They may not be listening.
    _________________________________________________-
    .. It is time for the Afghans to swim or sink on their own.

    .. And if there is a question of needing further training ..
    .. well we can train some of them ..
    .. to train their own forces.
     
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  2. H.E.L.Shane

    H.E.L.Shane Senior Member

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    its not so much a taxpayer break as it is lessons learned from Vietnam.

    the VC would use ANYTHING left by the US (and French before them) forces..

    the made sandals out of blown out tires!!

    They used C-rat cans as grenades filled with spent shell casings...

    if you left anything behind on a patrol one week... you might have it blasted back at you the next....

    The Taliban are no different... and neither would any militia. (if you think the revolutionary army in the US passed up a chance to use anything left by the british.. your fooling yourself)


    "pick up your spent ammo and frags, Don't leave nothin for the dinks" Wilem Dafoe in "platoon"

    and its freakin true.
     
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  3. Blackie

    Blackie Banned

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    .. I am quite sure we have been training our enemies, and when they sort themselves out after our departure, which will be a descent into tribal battles to establish their old boundaries and control, they will then have one thing in common, a hatred of the foreign occupiers.

    What is worse is .. that we did this exact same thing with the Muhajadeem(sp?)
    .. I mean .. O Bin was a "freedom fighter" .. that we gave weapons to ..
     
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  4. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    The sooner we're out of there, the better off we are.

    Many happy returns to those Marines, and the rest of our fighting men and women.
     
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  5. TOMMYTHUNDERS

    TOMMYTHUNDERS Senior Member

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    i'd say what i think, but instead:

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi V.I.P. Member

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    Smash it, break it, burn it, dump it in the sea. Whatever you leave will eventually be used against you, or against someone else. Destroy everything.
     
  7. Blackie

    Blackie Banned

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    .. You know what is going to stay, the roads, buildings, power plants and lines, water treatment plants and pipes, airports and runways, and tens of thousands of contractors,

    .. Just look to Iraq .. all of the above and the contractors are still there ..

    You know who is and will be paying for it.
     
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  8. MeKevin

    MeKevin Senior Member

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    Spot on, Tommy T. :)

    You guys have higher hopes for Iraq or Afghanistan?

    Iraq

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbK76okexVk]Iraqi Jumping Jacks - YouTube[/ame]
     
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  9. Frogfur

    Frogfur Senior Member

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    I've been to the forest and seen the tiger. Sometimes it is worth it. Sometimes it is not.
    I am proud of what my team mates and myself tried to acomplish way back then.

    Peace
     
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  10. Ambrola

    Ambrola Senior Member

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    I said it before, we, the USA, should not help one single country. We have enough problems here to fix. Let the rest of the world worry about itself. We need to quit policing the planet, and take care of our own.
     
  11. MineGoesTo11

    MineGoesTo11 Senior Member

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    The 'democratic' government will collapse in short order and things will return to how they were before the war.
     
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