The Norman Transcript


October 13, 2012

Marines help ANSF, Sangin government



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
  • Wastewater upgrade under way

    Norman’s $63 million water reclamation facility upgrade is under way. Once known as a sewer plant, the facility’s moniker reflects the current trend in water reuse and treatment that’s crossing the United States....

    August 1, 2014

  • Okla. City museum shows pigeons in positive light

    OKLAHOMA CITY — It wasn’t long after Lorrie Monteiro started her new gig as curator of the American Pigeon Museum that she started to wonder, “What have I done?” Monteiro had experience working at museums but knew almost nothing about the ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Five more bike racks installed downtown

    Public art was installed Thursday along east Main Street in historic downtown Norman. Five colorful art pieces aren’t just for looks. The musical notes, dream catcher, fork and spoon, scissortail flycatcher and a bent arrow also are bike ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Meet the Sooners on Saturday

    Meet the Sooners Day will be Saturday at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The annual, free event kicks off preseason practice and gives University of Oklahoma fans an opportunity to interact with their favorite players and ...

    August 1, 2014

  • OKC man charged with rape

    After being brutally raped and kidnapped for four days, a woman escaped and called 911 last week, which led to charges against an Oklahoma City man. Zohaib Sahibzada Dastgir, 28, was charged with three counts of first-degree rape, two ...

    August 1, 2014

  • One killed when shipping container falls onto vehicle

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City police say one person was killed when a shipping container was knocked from an Oklahoma National Guard vehicle and landed on a pickup truck....

    August 1, 2014

  • Target taps outsider as CEO for shakeup

    NEW YORK — Target is bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time as the retailer fights to redefine itself to American shoppers....

    August 1, 2014

  • Parks officials set to fog for mosquitoes in Norman

    Norman parks and recreation officials will fog for mosquitoes Saturday night in northeast Norman....

    August 1, 2014

  • New natural gas plant coming to south central area

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new plant projected to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day is coming to the Grady/Stephens county area....

    August 1, 2014

  • Motorists should watch for pedestrians

    With another school year approaching, the Norman Police Department wants motorists to be mindful of the increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic. During the month of August, the Norman Police Department will concentrate resources in the ...

    August 1, 2014