Monday, April 11, 2011
The first 250 Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, will return to Camp Pendleton tonight. They experienced some of the heaviest casualties of the war in Afghanistan.
The first 250 Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment will return to Camp Pendleton tonight. They experienced some of the heaviest casualties of the war in Afghanistan.
The 3/5 deployed to Helmand Province last fall, and were sent to the most dangerous place in Afghanistan, Sangin. Their task was to regain the Taliban stronghold, a notorious poppy growing region in a mountainous area north of Marja.
Sangin is strategically significant to the Taliban and also because it's on the way to a hydroelectric power station which, if repaired, could provide electricity for thousands of homes.
More than 130 coalition forces have been killed in the area.
The so-called "Darkhorse" battalion, and other Marine units attached to it, lost more than 30 men in the first three months. Close to 200 have been wounded.
Marine Corps Commander Gen. James Amos acknowledged the importance and the risks of the mission when he chose to spend last Christmas in Sangin with the battalion.
The Marine Corps has mobilized extra resources to support members of the regiment dealing with combat stress, even after they return home to their families.
A home coming ceremony is scheduled tonight on Camp Pendleton.