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Centcom ^ | 5-8-06

Posted on 05/08/2006 5:23:31 AM PDT by SevenMinusOne


Release Date: 5/8/2006

Release Number: 06-05-08PJ

Description: KORENGAL VALLEY, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army and Coalition forces recently stormed into the enemy safe haven of the Korengal Valley in Kunar Province in the largest Coalition military effort since troops first arrived here as part of Operation Enduring Freedom more than four years ago.

The offensive, named Operation Mountain Lion, began April 11 with night helicopter insertions of Afghan and Coalition forces at strategic points throughout the valley, followed shortly by troops pushing up on foot through the mouth of the valley.

“We're taking the fight to the terrorists in their own backyard," said Army Command Sgt. Maj. James Redmore of Task Force Spartan. “They gave their victims no sanctuary. They’ll receive none from us.”

An estimated 2,500 ANA and Coalition forces are in the Korengal and surrounding valleys in what military officials are calling the most significant effort yet to bring stability to this war-torn region.

“The enemy has very few options,” said Marine Lt. Col. James Bierman, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, whose Hawaii-based unit is the main thrust of the operation. “The first option he has is to run -- if he runs, he leaves the safety and sanctuary of the villages where he’s mixed with the local population, and he now becomes detectable by air support.”

The next option would be to blend in with the local populace, he added. “The last option he has is to fight -- if he does that, he’s going to have a world of hurt put on him.”

Every single company from 1/3 has been in firefights and received fire, said Marine 1st Lt. Kevin Frost, platoon commander for 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, and Zeeland , Mich. , native. “It is a credit to our abilities as Coalition forces that they’ve shot at us but haven’t come close to winning any engagements,” said Frost.

The Marines frequently get into skirmishes with the remaining enemies and the ones that are left “are just stubborn,” said Marine Sgt. Michael Chambers, platoon sergeant, 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company. “They pop off a couple rounds at us and then run back along the ridgeline, trying to get away.”

Marine Staff Sgt. Jason Butler, an operations chief with 1/3 and native of Salt Lake City , agrees. “There have been dozens of firefights so far, but the enemy is finding out that they pretty much can’t do anything effective against us,” said Butler .

The role the ANA has played has been a significant reason for the success of the operation, along with outstanding support from the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, who cordoned off the other valleys, said Butler . Air support from the U.S. Air Force has also been key, he said. “This has truly been a joint effort.”

The ANA has also played a vital role in this operation, said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Donald Vollmer, an operations watch chief with the 1/3 and Albany , Ore. , native. “We are here to support them,” Vollmer said.

Additional support included a medical civic assistance program as part of the Coalition’s humanitarian mission in Afghanistan .

“Our Navy corpsmen have treated over 3,000 Afghan locals in the Korengal Valley since the start of Operation Mountain Lion,” said Marine 1st Sgt. John Armstead, a Canton , Ohio , native who is the company first sergeant, headquarters and service company of the 1/3. “We are here to help make their lives better and to provide whatever support and assistance we can.”

According to Marine Maj. Michael Miller, executive officer for the 1/3, Operation Mountain Lion has the potential to be the catalyst that changes the makeup of the entire region.

The operation essentially has taken away the enemy’s sanctuary, which has increased stability and welfare among the people, said Miller, a native of Boalsburg , Pa. “We are here for the long haul,” he said.

All the beneficial factors and the accomplishments of Operation Mountain Lion will continue to resonate throughout the Korengal Valley for a long time to come, added Miller.

“This was ANA and Coalition teamwork at its best -- we were together shoulder to shoulder on this operation, and it establishes a foundation of support from the local populace when the ANA taking charge,” said Miller.

“The operation is stabilizing the area and helping the people of Afghanistan,” said Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Craig, operations chief of the 1/3, and a native of Buffalo, N.Y.

“Operation Mountain Lion has put us five to 10 years ahead of where we were before the operation started,” said Craig.

TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; kunar; wot
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To: DevSix
I write for general read of course,understanding you stay on top of this stuff. As you indicated in your response, the US forces have over four plus years built up required bases. So at this point with so many well trained units to work with plus the ANA uptrained to work with our guys and some NATO forces, we can sustain long campaigns during the warmer months. I can only imagine the logistic involved. G2 and G4 have a tough job to best direct and equipe G3 in their daily raids.
And surely our air recon is far more efficient then even two years back. Having nothing to shoot down our high flying aircraft the enemy is on screen and target designated when they pop their rag heads above ground.
Perhaps in a couple of years the Afghans will be in the position to control their country by themselves. Meanwhile we continue to pick off high value targets as good HUMIT comes in.
21 posted on 05/08/2006 11:46:30 AM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: maine-iac7
sheeple, so easily duped by the piper's tune

well, propaganda time more than others, I suppose. The left is out, and, having nothing genuine to bring to the marketplace of ideas, are forced to plagiurize from the playbook of history. Recall the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

22 posted on 05/08/2006 5:02:16 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (It takes courage to live. Hence, the "culture of death...")
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