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May-10-2011 01:58printcomments

Thundering 3/4 Builds Rapport on Patrols

Salem Marine with the Second Marine Division

Marine Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sundell of Salem, Oregon crouches down to greet local children while on a recent patrol outside his base.
Marine Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sundell of Salem, Oregon greets local children while on a recent patrol outside his base. Sundell, a platoon sergeant with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, said he enjoys seeing the children and interacting with them because they are so receptive to the Marines.

(PATROL BASE SHARK, HELMAND Province) - Here in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the ranger file stretches across the farmlands. Marines stay vigilant, but take time to talk and get to know the local populace in the area.

PATROL BASE SHARK, Helmand province, Islamic
Republic of Afghanistan - An Afghan National Army soldier
takes in the view of the farmlands outside the base during a
recent patrol. The soldier is a member of a small team
attached to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine
Regiment. According to the Marines with the unit, the local
community tends to be more open and trusting toward the
ANA team. The soldiers can also pick out suspicious activity
or people because of their vast knowledge of the area.
Photo by Cpl. Marco Mancha

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, are preparing for the anticipated insurgents’ spring offensive by gathering information and building rapport with the local population.

The regiment is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads the ground combat efforts in southwest Afghanistan. It is vital these Marines learn all they can about the area they cover. One way they do this is by conducting patrols.

Every foot patrol brings new information about the unit’s area of operations. A team of soldiers with the Afghan national army joins the Marines on most patrols and has become an important component in gathering information.

The mission is clear on these patrols: to maintain security throughout the area of operations and gather intelligence from the local residents. Since the Marines arrived just a few weeks ago, they have worked with the ANA soldiers to build good relationships with village elders and find out where local schools, mosques and markets are located.

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Shannon Pope May 15, 2011 1:45 pm (Pacific time)

Of course I love this story, Benjamin Sundell is my Son..... and I am so Proud of him!!!!!

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