The Norman Transcript

Headlines

October 13, 2012

Marines help ANSF, Sangin government

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The Marines also conducted partnered operations throughout Sangin and the upper Helmand River valley. The battalion operated during the summer fighting season, and the Marines saw plenty of action. 

They were involved in more than 300 direct firefights and found approximately 300 improvised explosive devices. The battalion suffered 39 casualties and six fallen heroes.

“The hardest part is coping with the casualties and the heroes,” said Sgt. Major Coombs, battalion sergeant major, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. 

Coombs had Marines construct a memorial — what he calls an honor garden — to honor the previous battalions that served in Sangin and their fallen brothers.

“I wanted to make sure the Marines that came before us would always be remembered,” said Coombs. 

The Marines faced a difficult situation when they arrived in the spring. Not only were they deploying at the start of the fighting season, but they were arriving fresh off of the heels of controversy involving the Marine Corps and Afghanistan. 

“We came at a critical time,” said Coombs, from Noble, Okla. “We needed a unit to come in here and really do it right. The Marines knew they had to do it right. The Marine Corps needed them to do it right, and they did it right.”

The battalion knew their actions would be under intense scrutiny, and they couldn’t afford any slip-ups. 

“Our non-commissioned officers made tough decisions with the rules of engagement and all the things that come with having to make on-the-spot calls during firefights,” said Coombs. “That impressed me the most. NCOs making the right call and wanting to do it right every single day.” 

As the Marines strengthened the ANSF and helped rid the area of insurgent activity, the people of Sangin witnessed positive trends in their security and their economy. 

“A lot of people thought that security in Sangin was unachievable,” said Coombs. “They said Sangin couldn’t be tamed. The security couldn’t be good because it was always too kinetic in the area.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Junior Police Graduation First Junior Police Academy graduates

    The room went dark and a slideshow flipped through photos of children participating in the first Junior Police Academy as kids chattered excitedly, remembering what they had done over the past two weeks. Norman Police Department hosted ...

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials say transparency lacking in Wal-Mart zoning

    Norman city staff recently admitted to withholding information from the public regarding a controversial zoning change in southeast Norman. If approved by the city council, the proposal will allow a Wal-Mart supercenter at Cedar Lane and ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet crashes with 116 on board

    OUAGADOUGO, Burkina Faso — An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Nonprofit raises $3.9M-plus for new center

    The Center for Children and Families, a United Way of Norman partner agency, announced Thursday that it exceeded its public fundraising goal of $3.5 million and raised more than $3.9 million to complete the purchase and renovation of a ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster

    WASHINGTON — Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel’s largest airport after rocket attacks. Two airliners crash during storms. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Wednesday: · 5:58 a.m. indecent exposure, 100 block of West Comanche Street · 6:08 a.m. burglary in progress, 100 block of West Hayes Street · 8:09 a.m. larceny report, 100 ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Angela Beth Mendinghall, 36, unauthorized use of a vehicle; driving with a canceled, suspended or revoked license · Daniel ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Immigrant children being placed with sponsors

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The federal government says more than 200 unaccompanied children in Oklahoma have been placed with sponsors so far this year. The federal government released a state-by-state breakdown Thursday of the numbers of ...

    July 25, 2014

  • OCU prepares to move law library downtown

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City University’s School of Law is moving its library into a historic building in downtown Oklahoma City....

    July 25, 2014

  • Grad to serve as delegate at camp

    William Long, 2014 Norman North High School graduate, recently represented Oklahoma as a delegate at the 2014 National Youth Science Camp. Long joined 100 other top high school graduates representing the United States and eight other ...

    July 25, 2014