5 years ago
From the Washington Post in a very interesting article.
Standing by the wreckage the next morning, Murphy explained that while several vehicles have been destroyed this way, the logistical challenges mean that replacements are slowly arriving. Indeed, Castle said Lasher and the other Marines had had to ride in a Humvee because one of their team’s mine-resistant vehicles had been disabled. “If they had been in an MRAP, they probably all would have survived,” Castle said.
Even as losses from roadside bombs mount, Marine commanders know they can bypass main roads for only so long. It is a matter of time, they say, before insurgents target the desert routes and foot patrols. Ultimately, they know the solution lies in dismantling the networks of Taliban bombmakers, and that, in turn, will come only with help from a wary Afghan population.
For now, if units such as Echo Company want to travel even small stretches of road, they must commit to the manpower-intensive work of keeping watch 24 hours a day. As they scrutinized the moonlit road leading to the desert last week, Friis and the other Marines reflected with some bitterness over the loss of their friends, and questioned whether many Americans appreciate — or even know of — their daily grind in the windswept purgatory of Helmand.
“People need to know these guys were heroes. They were fighting so the people living in Potomac and Fairfax in their million-dollar houses don’t have to,” said Friis, a dark-haired, soft-spoken enlistee who is the dog handler for a bomb-sniffing black lab named Jenny.
Paar and Davila, who had a leg amputated, are recovering at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Xiarhos’s wake was recently held in Massachusetts.
Long time readers of The Captain’s Journal know that we are big advocates of foot patrols. Operation Khanjar has progressed based on aggressive dismounted patrolling through the countryside of Helmand as opposed to the roads. Also, there are plans in the works for UAV support of Marines in lieu of logistics via roads. TCJ supports the idea of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force more than we support the sea-based amphibious assault concept based around the EFV. Yet the roads must be confronted, and in order to do this, more troops are necessary. Enough troops must be present – and their commitment long enough – to ensure that the population turns over those who emplace IEDs to the Marines. The Marine Corps awaits the administration?