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I Marine Expeditionary Force

From Every Clime and Place

Infantrymen stand by ready to assist during Afghan election runoff

By Cpl. Joseph Scanlan | Marine Expeditionary Brigade - Afghanistan | June 23, 2014

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Corporal Domingo Espinal, machine gunner, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, mans a M240B medium machine gun throughout the night from a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Espinal, a native of Athens, Ga., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Corporal Domingo Espinal, machine gunner, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, mans a M240B medium machine gun throughout the night from a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Espinal, a native of Athens, Ga., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Corporal Mark Rood, cyber network operator, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, maintains network connectivity during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Rood, a native of Doylestown, Penn., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Corporal Mark Rood, cyber network operator, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, maintains network connectivity during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Rood, a native of Doylestown, Penn., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Lance Cpl. Jorge Navejas, intelligence analyst, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, tracks intelligence reports during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Navejas, a native of San Diego, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Lance Cpl. Jorge Navejas, intelligence analyst, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, tracks intelligence reports during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Navejas, a native of San Diego, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Lance Cpl. Alan Revilla, machine gunner, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, mans a M240B medium machine gun throughout the night from a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Revilla, a native of Houston, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Lance Cpl. Alan Revilla, machine gunner, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, mans a M240B medium machine gun throughout the night from a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Revilla, a native of Houston, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Navy corpsmen with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, review medevac procedures with British soldiers during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. The corpsmen, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Navy corpsmen with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, review medevac procedures with British soldiers during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. The corpsmen, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Corporal Mark Rood, cyber network operator, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, troubleshoots network connectivity from a satellite phone during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Rood, a native of Doylestown, Penn., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Corporal Mark Rood, cyber network operator, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, troubleshoots network connectivity from a satellite phone during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Rood, a native of Doylestown, Penn., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Lance Cpl. Hugo Morales, rifleman, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, scans the surrounding area with binoculars from a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Morales, a native of El Paso, Texas, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Lance Cpl. Hugo Morales, rifleman, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, scans the surrounding area with binoculars from a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Morales, a native of El Paso, Texas, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Lance Cpl. Hugo Morales, rifleman, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, fills a fuel tank of a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Morales, a native of El Paso, Texas, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Lance Cpl. Hugo Morales, rifleman, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, fills a fuel tank of a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Morales, a native of El Paso, Texas, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Lance Cpl. Jeffery Webb, anti-tank missileman, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, mans a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Webb, a native of Montgomery, Texas, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Lance Cpl. Jeffery Webb, anti-tank missileman, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, mans a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Webb, a native of Montgomery, Texas, along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Corporal Domingo Espinal, machine gunner, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, scans the surrounding area with thermal binoculars from a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Espinal, a native of Athens, Ga., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Corporal Domingo Espinal, machine gunner, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, scans the surrounding area with thermal binoculars from a security post during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Espinal, a native of Athens, Ga., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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Staff Sgt. Paul Prograis, joint terminal attack controller, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, establishes radio connectivity during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Prograis, a native of Girard, Ill., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Staff Sgt. Paul Prograis, joint terminal attack controller, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, establishes radio connectivity during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. Prograis, a native of Girard, Ill., along with a platoon of infantrymen, provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


Photo Details | Download |

Marines with Scout Sniper Platoon, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, man security positions during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. The infantrymen provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted.

Marines with Scout Sniper Platoon, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, man security positions during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. The infantrymen provided security at Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army controlled-base, during the Afghanistan presidential runoff elections. While International Security Assistance Force stood ready to support as needed, the elections were entirely Afghan led and Afghan conducted. (Photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan)


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CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan -- The April 5 presidential elections in Afghanistan proved to be tremendously successful yielding the highest voter turnout of recent years. A runoff election was required to determine a final victor, and the Marines of 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, stood by ready to assist their Afghan Counterparts if needed, June 14.

The Marines departed Camp Leatherneck for Patrol Base Ouellette, an Afghan National Army post in southern Helmand province, June 12.

“Our mission was to guard the route to and from PB Ouellette while establishing a coordination point between the British and Marine Corps advisor teams,” said Capt. John Dove, the commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines, and a native of Annapolis, Maryland. “This coordination point was a central location where we could share information and assist each other as needed to enable the Afghan National Security Forces, who secured the neighborhoods and polling sites in support of the elections.”

The convoy of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles arrived at the patrol base after a few hours of driving. Infantrymen immediately dismounted and began manning security posts with M240B medium machine guns.

“We identified positions that were most likely to receive enemy contact and had good visibility on a main traveled route,” said Gunnery Sgt. Gerald Furnari, a platoon sergeant with Weapons Co., 1st Bn., 7th Marines, and a native of Franklin Square, New York. “Our positions were also located nearby our support assets and a helicopter landing pad in case we had to have a casualty transported out of the patrol base.”

The infantrymen constantly manned the security posts since arriving at the patrol base and continued to do so during the day of voting. Although the Marines were staged at PB Ouellette, they were merely acting as advisors to the ANA soldiers. 

As the crest of the sun began to rise over the horizon, the day of voting began. Insurgent attacks in the local area were a possibility due to the high-profile event, but the runoff election turned out to be placid and the local populous was not harassed.

“The lack of enemy activity was a direct result of the Afghans, not coalition forces,” Dove said. “The ANSF proved their ability to rid neighborhoods of a majority of enemy fighters, which allowed the Afghans to participate in the runoff elections. The Afghans are in control now, and we’re just advising and assisting them.

“The mission was ultimately a success. We weren’t called to assist the ANA in any way. Our quick reaction force for the ANSF was not needed, and we made it back to Camp Leatherneck safely,” Dove added.