You know when the public has tired of a war? When the TV networks go home and the Marine Corps has to release its own bang-bang video. That happened Wednesday morning, as the Marines spread far and wide a five-minute clip of leathernecks coming under Taliban attack in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. It’s compelling watching, as 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. come under fire at Patrol Base Georgetown in the Kajki district. The unseen enemy rattles them with small arms fire, and they respond the way you’d expect Marines to respond. At least one wounded Marine is helicoptered away.
Not unlike the Afghan war itself, the video is inconclusive. It’s a snapshot taken through a soda straw that led us to seek some answers from the Marines. Major Bradley “Flash” Gordon promptly provided some emailed background from his post with Task Force Helmand:
Q1. When did it happen?
A1. The footage of the insurgent attack on Patrol Base Georgetown was shot on 22 November 2011.
Q1a. What unit was involved?
A1a. Elements of Weapons Company, First Battalion, Sixth Marine Regiment.
Q1b. How many Marines were involved?
A1b. We do not release specific unit strength numbers at specific locations, however, there are approximately 13 Marines in squad, 45 Marines in a platoon and 150 Marines assigned to a Company.
Q2. Were any enemy casualties tallied?
A2. There were multiple enemy casualties identified.
Q3. Was there only one USMC wounded?
A3. There were multiple Marine Corps casualties from the incident, none of which were life threatening.
Q4. Details on condition of any USMC casualties?
A4. All are recovering or have been returned to their unit.
Q5. How did it begin?
A5.Marines received small-arms and indirect fire from an insurgent position located in caves approximately a quarter of a mile from their operating location.
Q6. How did it end?
A6.Marines ended the conflict by calling in close-air support from an AH-1 Cobra (various weapons) causing all insurgent fire to cease.
Q7. How long did it last?
A7. Approximately 3-hours.
Q8. Was it an isolated event?
A8. Yes. There were no other insurgent attacks within that area of operations during that time period.
Q9. What is its significance?
A9. The video shows two things. First it shows the desperate attempts being made by a waning insurgency as coalition forces continue to keep the pressure on and not allow the insurgents respite and secondly, how Task Force Leatherneck is aggressively exploiting the successes of Operation Eastern Storm as we continue our campaign setting the conditions for transition operations throughout Helmand province.