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October 13, 2012

Marines help ANSF, Sangin government

NORMAN — FORWARD OPERATING BASE SABIT QADAM, Afghanistan – It has been seven long months for the Marines and sailors of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, but they will soon return home to family and friends from Sangin, Afghanistan.

The Marines faced a difficult task at a difficult time for both the Marine Corps and Afghanistan. They watched as temperatures rose to more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit and tensions in the region became more intense with each passing day.

“Our primary mission was to develop the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces,” said. Lt. Col. David Bradney, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. “The second part of the mission was to defeat the insurgency in Sangin, Afghanistan.”

For seven months, the Marines worked with Afghan Forces, training the Afghan Local Police, Afghan National Civil Order Police and Afghan National Army soldiers.

The Marines partnered with ANSF during training and operations. They continued the work of previous battalions, strengthening the ANSF. 

“We are trying to develop the capabilities of the ANSF while beating back the insurgency to allow the government of Afghanistan to more proactively govern the citizens of Afghanistan,” said Bradney, from San Antonio.

The battalion assigned more Marines to train the Afghan forces than any of the previous battalions in the area. They organized an infantry company specifically to work with the Afghan Forces. Through the efforts of the 191 Marines in Alpha Company, the Afghan forces received more individualized training. 

“Most battalions previously came with 60 to 70 Marines devoted to that mission,” said Bradney, referring to training the Afghan forces. “With 191 Marines specifically for that mission, we were able to work with the individual policeman all the way up to the chief of police.”

The additional attention helped the ANSF develop an independence from the Marines.

“They are able to plan and coordinate amongst themselves,” said Bradney. “We knew they were always able, but now they are more willing to conduct independent operations. Now they go out regularly by themselves.”

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