Photo Credit: Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs, 02/02/2010
This slide show focuses on the USMC fight to secure a key intersection on the road to Marjeh in Helmland Province. The photos were taken on February 9th, 2010 and show various facets of the operation.
The Marines, some carrying more than their body weight in gear, moved toward the center of an area known as “Five Points,” an intersection of major roads in western Helmand province, located between the cities of Marjeh and Nawa. The Marines were joined on the assault by their partnered Afghan National Army soldiers who fought alongside them against the Taliban.
The Five Points intersection and surrounding area is also part of the main route from Marjeh to Lashkar Gah, the Helmand provincial capital.
Not long after Marines established their defensive positions in the area did they observe Taliban fighters approaching from Marjeh. The Taliban immediately began firing their machine guns at the Marines. Marines and ANA soldiers fired back with heavy machine guns, rockets and small-arms fire, wounding and killing several Taliban fighters, forcing them to flee. Marines took the brief respite to fortify their fighting positions with sandbags and concrete blocks scrounged from the area around them.
“While we were reinforcing our position on a roof, we came under fire again,” said Sgt. Stephen Y. Roberts, a 23-year-old assault section leader, Weapons Platoon, Charlie Company, “It was three or four of the same fighters we had seen firing at us earlier.”
Roberts responded to the enemy machine-gun fire by launching a Javelin shoulder-fired missile into the position the fighters were firing from, immediately silencing the heavy machine gun. Marine AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters flying the area followed Roberts’ fire to strike a volley of heavy machine-gun fire and rockets, putting an end to the engagement.
Charlie Company Marines were joined at Five Points that evening by squads of Marines from Bravo Company, 1/3, having traveled the nine kilometers from Nawa on foot while sweeping for and clearing improvised explosive devices along the road linking the two locations.
- The first photo shows Marines of 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, help another Marine down an unstable ladder in an Afghan farm compound on February 9 near the “Five Points” intersection. Marines of Charlie Company conducted a helicopter-borne assault earlier that morning to seize the key intersection of roads linking the northern area of the insurgent stronghold of Marjeh with the rest of Helmand province.
- The second photo shows Cpl. Joshua D. Villegas, a radio operator attached to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, watching nearby farms for insurgent activity from a building rooftop in the center of “Five Points.”
- The third photo shows Lance Cpls. Keith B. Lawson and Spence G. Press, scout snipers attached to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, working together to identify targets as Taliban fighters approached from Marjeh toward their position at the “Five Points” intersection.
- The fourth photo shows a Marine with Weapons Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, affixing a mortar round to his pack before a helicopter-borne assault to seize the “Five Points” intersection.
- The fifth photo shows an Afghan National Army soldier firing a rocket-propelled grenade at Taliban insurgents from Marjeh firing on their position at the “Five Points” intersection. A group of ANA soldiers joined the Marines of Charlie Company as they conducted a helicopter-borne assault.
- The sixth photo shows Capt. Stephan P. Karabin, commanding officer, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, giving directions to units on two different radios from a rooftop during a firefight at the center of “Five Points.”
- The seventh photo shows an Afghan National Army soldier firing a grenade from a launcher on his AK-47 at Taliban insurgents from Marjeh firing on their position at the “Five Points” intersection.
- The final photo shows Lance Cpl. Zachary D. Tutt, a 19-year-old machine gunner with Weapons Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, running a wheelbarrow full of gathered cinderblocks back to his gun’s location while Lance Cpl. Jutstin Hughes, a radio operator with Weapons Platoon, provides security between firefights with Taliban insurgents at the “Five Points” intersection.
***Posted February 14th, 2010