Afghan National Army Pvt. Sangar, Weapons Company, 2nd Kandak, 215th Corps, kicks open a door while searching for insurgents in Deh Mushek village, Afghanistan during Operation Trap House, May 25, 2012.(Photo by Sgt. James Mercure)
DEH MUSHEK, Afghanistan (June 04, 2012) — Another door bursts open as an Afghan soldier slams his boot against its wooden frame. The familiar smell of animal manure burns his nostrils.
He learned how to kick open a door that day from a lance corporal patrolling with him.
The town they are clearing is Deh Mushek. During operation Trap House, May 23 – 29, the Marines and sailors of 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, partnered with the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Civil Order Police to disrupt insurgents’ freedom of movement and kill enemy fighters in the area.
“Our objective was to drop in and pick a fight with the enemy,” said 1st Lt. Devin Claridy, 3rd platoon commander, Alpha Co., 1st Bn., 8th Marines, from Akron, Ohio. “We were going to a pretty hostile area, and we wanted to draw them in – keep them on their toes.”
In burning desert heat, carrying packs weighed down with water, food and ammunition; Marines and Afghan forces found improvised explosive devices, weapon magazines, and ammunition. They also engaged and killed insurgents throughout the operation.
“Everyone did what they were trained to do,” said Sgt. Ben Santo, squad leader, Alpha Co., 1st Bn., 8th Marines, from Canal Winchester, Ohio. “The Taliban is getting beat down, and they’re getting tired of fighting us. We’re keeping them knocked back so we can transition security to the ANSF.”
The Afghan National Army soldiers fighting the insurgents alongside the Marines said they were excited to start taking the lead.
“We have learned a lot from the Marines,” said ANA Pvt. Joma Gul, Weapons Company, 2nd Kandak, 215th Corps. “And now we have used (that knowledge) against the enemy. We fight as one, and they fear us.”