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Dec-04-2010 13:50printcomments

Say a Prayer for the 3/5 Darkhorse Marines in Afghanistan

They are fighting it out in Afghanistan & they have lost 9 marines in 4 days; 13 since October.

Logo for the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines
Learn more visit the Website for: 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines

(SALEM, Ore.) - "We are asking everyone to say a prayer for 'Darkhorse' 3rd Battalion 5th Marines and their families." That is an email from our writer, Chuck Palazzo, another former Marine veteran, who lives in Da Nang, Vietnam.

The Department of Defense along with the Marine Corps itself, are releasing information and concerned Marines all over the world are spreading the request for Americans to pray for this hard hit military group.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that 13 Marines from Darkhorse have been killed in this region since October.

What we know is that a 21-year old Marine, Lance Corporal Randy R. Braggs of Sierra Vista, Ariz, who was attached to Camp Pendleton's 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, was killed in action in Afghanistan, the Pentagon released the information regarding the loss of Randy Braggs on 8 November 2010]. He died two days earlier during combat operations in Helmand province.

Randy Braggs was the 13th member of 3/5 killed since the battalion moved into the Sangin area of northeastern Helmand province in October, including four felled in a single bomb attack on their mine-resistant all terrain vehicle.

Two other Marines were fatally shot at a patrol base in Sangin last week, the Marine Corps reports. It was initially indicated they were attacked by a rogue Afghan soldier who then fled the area, according to U.S. and NATO officials in Afghanistan. An investigation into the incident is continuing. I reported the extremely high desertion/attrition rate among Afghan Army recruits in 2006 and 2007 from Afghanistan. This obviously continues to be a serious problem, because the recruits who desert often join the Taliban or other ACM's (anti-Coalition Militaries).

Not only do they abscond with information about the inner workings of the ANA (Afghan National Army), but they also steal the U.S. manufactured Woodland camouflage uniforms that make them virtually indistinguishable from ANA regulars.

This is the Associated Press account, from the area of Afghanistan in which the 3/5 is operating. As we have reported many times in the past, Helmand, a particularly violent area, is regarded as ka key region in this fight:

U.S. Marines who recently inherited this lush river valley in southern Helmand province from British forces have tossed aside their predecessor's playbook in favor of a more aggressive strategy to tame one of the most violent places in Afghanistan.

U.S. commanders say success is critical in Sangin district — where British forces suffered nearly one-third of their deaths in the war — because it is the last remaining sanctuary in Helmand where the Taliban can freely process the opium and heroin that largely fund the insurgency.

The district also serves as a key crossroads to funnel drugs, weapons and fighters throughout Helmand and into neighboring Kandahar province, the spiritual heartland of the Taliban and the most important battleground for coalition forces. The U.S.-led coalition hopes its offensive in the south will kill or capture key Taliban commanders, rout militants from their strongholds and break the insurgency's back. That will allow the coalition and the Afghans to improve government services, bring new development and a sense of security.

The "Darkhorse" 3rd Battalion 5th Marines Commanding Officer, LtCol Jason Morris, made this statement to Marine families on the Battalion's Website:

After a very difficult first two weeks in Sangin, the Marines and Sailors of the Battalion have learned some hard lessons and adapted to a challenging operational environment.

Marines are patrolling daily and moving out into areas of the Sangin District that the Taliban have used as their sanctuaries for years. Some areas of the District have never had any central government authority and have been under tribal authority for centuries before the Taliban came.

So, our mission of clearing out the Taliban and protecting the people from their oppression and violence is a challenging one. Nevertheless, your Marine or Sailor is bravely mounting up and operating every day in these areas with confidence in his buddies, his equipment, and his training—and he is making a difference.

Already we are noticing that we are able to go farther into the rural and urban areas than last week and that resistance has waned in the areas we are aggressively patrolling. It helps that every time the enemy tries to resist us he loses, and we are getting more and more efficient at finding and destroying his IEDs.

And while the enemy has sent reinforcements into the area to shore up his losses, there is a definite sense amongst the people that the Taliban’s dominance is waning where there are Marines and they are more willing to talk to us and provide us information about their activities. Make no mistake this will be many months of hard work, but there is a positive shift in momentum that is palpable and the Marines’ confidence grows daily.


Another Associated Press report from November 2010 described the difficulty (and heavy casualties) the Marines were encountering during operations in that region of Afghanistan:

The Marines patrolling through the green fields and tall mud compounds of Helmand province's Sangin district say they are literally in a race for their lives. They are trying to adjust their tactics to outwit Taliban fighters, who have killed more coalition troops here than in any other Afghan district this year.

Lt. Col. Jason Morris photo: OC Register

"As a new unit coming in, you are at a distinct disadvantage because the Taliban have been fighting here for years, have established fighting positions and have laid the ground with a ton of IEDs," said Lt. Col. Jason Morris, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. "You have to evolve quickly because you have no other choice."

Many of the younger Marines also have had to cope for the first time with seeing their best friends die or suffer grievous wounds. Fifteen Marines have been killed and about 50 wounded since the battalion arrived in October [2010] — many by improvised explosive devices or IEDs.

So what can you do? Jason Morris says these Marines are living lean, "We are currently living on MREs and UGRs (tray-rats), so anything that can help break the monotony would be warmly welcomed."

Many people picture Afghanistan as a land of blazing sun and endless sand dunes, and that is not an accurate view. there are sand dunes, and in the south it gets very hot in the summertime, but for the most part Afghanistan is mountainous and cold.

Morris said, "The weather here continues to cool, with lows in the low 40s and highs in the mid 60s. I believe the rain will likely start in the next few weeks, and then our camps will probably turn into mud and turn everything the same shade of brown."

And as this Marine officer relates, once the rainy season sets in, it is likely that the rivers will rise and the wadis, used to maneuver vehicles during the dry season, will become impassable.

"Fortunately we have plenty of cold and wet-weather gear to keep up dry and warm, so don’t worry about us not having enough," Morris said. "Time is moving quickly, and the days are long, but the weeks fly by. Before we know it the holidays will be upon us and it will be 2011."

Want to help? Learn more visit the Website for: 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, the link is listed below.

God Bless you and the members of the Darkhorse who are crushing the Taliban and demonstrating to the Afghans how to kick some tail. Don’t forget about MotoMail, and sending an extra pair of socks, some good ground coffee, and some

Sources:

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines

Darkhorse Battalion - Snopes.com.

Nov-09-12010: The Coltons Point Times -Pray for Dark Horse 3rd Battalion 5th Marines

Nov. 2, 2010: Laguna Hills' adopted battalion loses 10 Marines - By Caire Webb and Erika I. Ritchie The Orange County Register

Feb-12-2007: It's A Cold Dog's Life in Afghanistan (VIDEO) - Tim King, in Afghanistan, for Salem-News.com

This link will take you to a number of related Salem-News.com reports from Helmand and other parts of Afghanistan:

Helmand Afghanistan search on Salem-News.com

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Stoney B June 7, 2011 10:40 pm (Pacific time)

Re the message by Bonnie King 01/06/11: This appears to be from the oft-posted 'Prayers for Darkhorse Marines (3/5)' While the thought for our lost servicepeople is genuine, a bit of clarification is in order. Only two of those listed are US Marines (Bartelt - the correct spelling - and Santos)and neither served with 3/5. The balance are US Army except for Linley, who is a UK SSGT. Further, at the time of his death, it was alleged Dave Santos was murdered by a fellow Marine.


Driver March 4, 2011 8:23 am (Pacific time)

All the Muslims in the world are not worth the life of one American G I. PULL OUT OT THE MIDDLE EAST !

Tim King: I do not agree with that; let's not mix the religion into it, that isn't what the Marines are about.


Jim February 19, 2011 3:58 pm (Pacific time)

Tribute Song for "Darkhorse"
3rd Battalion 5th Marines

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SiU4aul4lk

Editor: Thank you!


top39 January 10, 2011 11:22 am (Pacific time)

Never an end..trash in OUR WHITE HOUSE who could care less..Always at Funerals with his hands at his crotch...disgusting. WE need him gone - so that our TROOPS can have a LEADER.

Tim King: Are you attempting to stand up for Marines while totally debasing the President of the United Stares?  Don't take respect away from my brother Marines by suggesting they are a bunch of bigots, what is wrong with you sicko0?  Obama is nothing to get excited about but you excrete a certain type of hatred in your words that prove you are nutcase with a mental preoccupation that has something to do with Black men and their crotches.  This is a demented comment.  These Marines are fighting for a nation and it has a president; don't dishonor these men and women with your low IQ expressions. 


Bonnie King, Salem-News.com January 6, 2011 4:53 pm (Pacific time)

Our Sincere Condolences to the friends and families of Justin Allen, 23, Brett Linley, 29, Matthew Weikert, 29, Justus Bartett, 27, Dave
Santos, 21, Chase Stanley, 21, Jesse Reed, 26, Matthew Johnson, 21, Zachary
Fisher, 24, Brandon King, 23, Christopher Goeke, 23, and Sheldon Tate, 27. Our prayers are with you.


Dave Noblit Jr. December 30, 2010 7:14 pm (Pacific time)

You people make me sick that dont pray and love the people that are protecting your asses. I am a Marine (Combat Engineer) that was attached to 3/5... Oct 21st I found many Ieds but one got me. I lost both my legs, feeling loss and use of my left hand, a rod in my arm, missing finger on my right hand, and other smaller woundeds on my body. I come back and find out that people like you don't even care what happens to us? Well if your not with us your with them, get the hell out of this country that protects you!

Editor: Hey Marine, a comment or two do not represent how people feel about you Brother.  There are 15 former Marines writing for Salem-News.com and we fight tooth and nail for our fellow Veterans.  Some people can't understand that we end up where we do for many reasons, don't let that shit get to you, it isn't real.   As a Marine you represent a fighting force that thinks more and has more heart than any other military organization in the world and that gets to people.   So, there you have it.  When you are ready, why don't you write a story about your experiences and send it to me and I can publish it.  You have a level of understanding that few people in the world possess.  There are so many issues relating to Veterans and the other health issues related to the contaminated water of Camp Lejeune and MCAS El Toro.  So, this is a Marine Corps kind of place even if we sound like peace activists half the time.  We are peace activists but those who have worn the uniform and most of our Marine Veteran writers are Combat Veterans like you.  I have gone to both of the theaters as a reporter/photographer and I even was embedded with my old Marine Corps unit, MWSG-37, in Iraq.  My email is tim@salem-news.com.  Be a writer, join our team, let the crap from people who don't understand roll off.  We have a lot to worry about with so many Veterans today, plenty to do.  Semper fi.   


Legend and Camo December 25, 2010 3:13 am (Pacific time)

We have collaborated and have written this song. We are constantly praying for the men of the "Dark Horse.

http://www.fileswap.com/share/5cd1247467/DarkHorseCDMix.mp3.html


Gary Hill December 14, 2010 2:59 pm (Pacific time)

I love the these guys, being a X Naval Reserve retired, they do it all no questions asked and the hell with those that do not support our country THE ONE and ONLY USA.


warbaby December 12, 2010 6:59 pm (Pacific time)

Sorry Doc, read these backwards; please excuse my comment which included your name.


warbaby December 12, 2010 6:56 pm (Pacific time)

Dear Proud: Doc & Vic don't realize that if it were not for the brave men serving in our armed forces now and in years past, they could not freely speak their minds and would probably be speaking German as the "official" language. Many thanks to your husband and those serving with him, and my sincere prayers.  My father was in WWII and was one of the lucky ones that came home.  Blessings to you!!


Doc December 11, 2010 11:42 am (Pacific time)

The freedom to speak your perverted opinion is payed for by the blood of countless brave and heroic Americans. The Marines in Afghanistan carry on where others before them have selflessly fallen for freedom, not only for Americans but for people yearning to be free all over this planet. Were you to utter your your despicable opinion against your fellow country men as a citizen of Afghanistan you would be burned alive or beheaded. It's easy to be the comfortable fool when you have no fear for you life because others are willing to pay the bill for you freedom and safety. You do not deserve to live in this free and wonderful country were patriots blood insure your freedom. Christ himself fashioned a whip and drove those who would defile the temple form his presents. You sir deserve the same. I must say you are one of the parasites that are sucking the life blood of freedom out of this country and the world.Get in the game or get the hell out. Don't hide behind a Christ who would of used a whip on your hypocritical back.


PROUD 3/5 WIFE December 9, 2010 4:00 pm (Pacific time)

How dare you have the balls to post something like that! I really hope that you DO NOT live in America. Because if you do, these Brave Marines have lost THEIR lives fighting for an ignorant assh*le like you! If you dont like this country, the people that fight for it, or the way it is run....FEEL FREE TO LEAVE! IF YOU DONT STAND BEHIND OUR TROOPS....FEEL FREE TO STAND IN FRONT OF THEM! It makes me sick that my husband is over there risking his life day in and day out for someone like you!


Vic December 6, 2010 10:21 am (Pacific time)

I would suggest Mark Twain´s War Prayer... and lets not forget that WE are the invaders, not the Afghanis. Pray to the God of Love and The Prince of Peace for our invaders/killers to prevail over their killers/defenders..? I think not. What blatant mockery of the principles Jesus taught. "In that day I will say to you, Get thee behind me, I never knew you".... My prayers will be for the people and the lives destroyed by the US government...on all sides.

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