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Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment and the Afghan National Army provide cover as they move out of a dangerous area after taking enemy sniper fire during a security patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, in November A year ago, nearly 1, U.
Marine officers and enlisted men of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.
This xangi, NPR tells the story of this unit’s seven long months at war — both in Afghanistan and back home. The Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment remember Sangin in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province as different from anywhere else they’d fought. Daniel Robert describes it as “hell. Jake Romo calls it “the Wild West.
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Jason Morris says he’d heard it described as “the most dangerous place in Afghanistan. The British were there for four years, but could only fight the Taliban to a bloody stalemate.
Now the British were leaving, and Darkhorse battalion moved in. You could not move outside of the district center without getting shot,” Morris recalls. Arriving in late Septemberthey learned the place fast, slogging through canals, fighting through dense vegetation and patrolling a maze of narrow dirt roads bordered by foot mud walls. A few weeks earlier in California, the Marines gathered to say goodbye to their families in the middle of the night at the parade grounds at Camp Bhrajan, where the unit was based.
Ashley Tawney was there with her husband, Sgt. Ian Tawney; they had known each other since they were kids. They had just bought a house, and Ashley was pregnant with their first child. I need to go and I want to go. They stood for hours bhramsn night at Pendleton. Then, just before sunrise, it was time to say goodbye.
Ashley kissed her husband. A few weeks braman in Afghanistan, Tawney led his men on a patrol. The situation was extremely dangerous: The Taliban had stockpiled weapons and poked holes in thick mud walls to use as shooting positions in order to ambush the Marines.
Tawney had just a part of the fight. Morris — the Darkhorse commander — the battle was everywhere. This is what ssngi had trained for. The only thing that was different from what we had trained all our lives for as Marines was the IED threat,” Morris says.
The next day, some of Morris’ Marines went out on a foot patrol. The initial report came in that they were taking mortar fire. Then, Morris remembers three rapid explosions; they turned out to be three Marines stepping on IEDs in rapid succession. In just two days, Morris lost seven of his men — more than his predecessor had lost in six months.
An Afghan Hell On Earth For ‘Darkhorse’ Marines
And the violence didn’t let up. At the end sanvi the week, another Marine snagi dead: Ian Tawney seen here on their wedding day had known each other since they were children. Ian Tawney was killed Oct. Ashley says she doesn’t know how she made it to the door the day Marine officers came to her house to tell her that her husband was dead.
At home in California, Ashley Tawney remembers waking up from a nap on her couch.
It was the middle of an October afternoon. The house she and Ian had recently bought had several French doors. Through the glass bhramqn one of them, she watched two Marine officers pass by. She didn’t have to open the door to see them standing there. It’s just like the movies, just like the movies,” she recalls.
And I opened the door, and then they started off with the whole spiel Then they started to do the paperwork I sanyi fathom that he was gone,” she says. The Darkhorse battalion was taking horrific casualties. Back home, bhrman emails and phone calls flew back and forth. To calm everyone down, the Marines convened a town hall meeting, and family members showed up. I don’t think any of us really thought it was going to be like it was in October,” recalls Amy Murray, the wife of Capt. This photo was taken a day before he stepped on an IED, losing his left leg and suffering other shrapnel damage.
Says Kait Wyatt, wife of Cpl. It’s based on luck, really,” he remembers. Chris Esrey recalls the incident in which Lance Cpl. Joseph Rodewald, Lance Cpl. Justin Cain and Pfc. Alec Catherwood, Lance Cpl. Irvin Ceniceros and Lance Cpl.
I mean, having to figure this out? It’s up to the battalion commander,” he says. Morris pressed his company commanders to take extra care on patrol. He stepped up training: The Marines buried mock IEDs and practiced finding them. And Morris asked for reinforcements. His bosses back at the Pentagon had a different sqngi. Instead of pulling Darkhorse out, the military sent hundreds more Marines, as well as mine-clearing equipment. Chris Esrey remembers that getting “more boots on the deck really increased our patrolling,” while Sgt.
Daniel Robert says it became easier for the Marines to get some rest. Progress came at a price: But the Marines say it was worth it. We changed it completely. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment salute during the playing of taps at a memorial ceremony on April 29 at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Moments before, the Marines fired a gun salute in honor of the 25 fallen warriors of the battalion. Barron, who lost one eye, one leg and some of his closest friends, agrees: If I say it wasn’t worth it, what about my friends that died? I’m disrespecting them, like they died for nothing.
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Some stood, some sat at a helicopter landing zone, a wide patch of asphalt surrounded by low brush, mountains in the distance. They faced 25 combat crosses, one for each of the dead. Helmets and weapons and combat boots sat on a wooden base. Marines, your Marines, these Marines — they took the fight to the enemy, and they won,” he told them. Ashley Tawney was there with her infant daughter, Claire — born three months after her father died — and remembers looking out at the crowd. And it kind of felt like his work funeral.
He’ll never get up when bhramsn dark outside and drive to work and come home late. And our life down there was over. That chapter was over,” she says. Ashley is starting a new chapter.
She plans to move to North Carolina. Her mother lives there. And it’s not far from the Marine base at Camp Lejeune. It’s hard, because I still longed for bhramman, I still wanted to be part of that life, but I didn’t have him anymore, and he was my connection to that life,” Ashley says. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player.
Known as “Darkhorse,” the battalion sustained a higher casualty rate than any other Marine unit during the year Afghan war. Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. October sagi, 3: Heard on All Things Considered. Marine Corps hide caption. Courtesy of Ashley Tawney hide caption. Courtesy of Ashley Tawney. Matthew Broehm and Lance Cpl. Derek Wyatt and Pfc.