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I Marine Expeditionary Force

In Every Clime and Place

Marines, sailors with Charley Company ensure Camp Dwyer’s safety in Helmand province

By Cpl. Cody Haas | Marine Expeditionary Brigade - Afghanistan | July 31, 2014

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Two teams of Marines with Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, with Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles provide security during an operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 19, 2014. During the two-day operation, Marines with Charley Co. watched over nearby routes close to Camp Dwyer and the surrounding area to help mitigate enemy insurgents smuggling small arms weapons and explosive material through the area. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cody Haas/ Released)

Two teams of Marines with Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, with Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles provide security during an operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 19, 2014. During the two-day operation, Marines with Charley Co. watched over nearby routes close to Camp Dwyer and the surrounding area to help mitigate enemy insurgents smuggling small arms weapons and explosive material through the area. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cody Haas/ Released) (Photo by Cpl. Cody Haas)


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An illumination round fired from an M252 81mm mortar system lights up the night during an operation conducted by Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 19, 2014. During the two-day operation, Marines with Charley Co. watched over nearby routes close to Camp Dwyer and the surrounding area to help mitigate enemy insurgents smuggling small arms weapons and explosive material through the area. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cody Haas/ Released)

An illumination round fired from an M252 81mm mortar system lights up the night during an operation conducted by Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 19, 2014. During the two-day operation, Marines with Charley Co. watched over nearby routes close to Camp Dwyer and the surrounding area to help mitigate enemy insurgents smuggling small arms weapons and explosive material through the area. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cody Haas/ Released) (Photo by Cpl. Cody Haas)


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Lance Cpl. Jordan Pettid, a mortarman with Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, adjusts the sight on an M252 81mm mortar system during an operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 19, 2014. During the two-day operation, Marines with Charley Co. watched over nearby routes close to Camp Dwyer and the surrounding area to help mitigate enemy insurgents smuggling small arms weapons and explosive material through the area. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cody Haas/ Released)

Lance Cpl. Jordan Pettid, a mortarman with Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, adjusts the sight on an M252 81mm mortar system during an operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 19, 2014. During the two-day operation, Marines with Charley Co. watched over nearby routes close to Camp Dwyer and the surrounding area to help mitigate enemy insurgents smuggling small arms weapons and explosive material through the area. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cody Haas/ Released) (Photo by Cpl. Cody Haas)


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CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan --

Improvised explosive devices and small arms fire from insurgents remain a threat to units patrolling in Helmand province.

Marines with Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, conducted an operation near commonly traveled routes near Camp Dwyer and the surrounding area in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 19-20.

Insurgents have been known to use heavily traveled routes to carry small arms weapons and explosive materials throughout Afghanistan to use against Afghan and coalition forces.

“The operation gave enemy insurgents in the area a clear presence of our manpower and capability,” said Lance Cpl. Mike Reams, a machine gunner with Charley Co. “The routes we covered were the main areas where insurgents have been seen recently.”

Marines with Charlie Co. used Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles during the operation for added protection against IEDs as well as small arms fire. They convoyed approximately two hours to the area of operation in Helmand province.

“The mission was a success because we were able to employ the (M252) 81mm mortar system with illumination rounds to deny the enemy the freedom of movement, hindering them from transporting weapons and narcotics on nearby routes,” said Staff Sgt. Carl Therrien, a platoon sergeant with Weapons Platoon, Charley Co.

A mortar illumination round is a type of ammunition that when fired, burns a bright flame carried by a parachute.

With illumination rounds constantly fired throughout the night, machine gunners in MRAPs watched over a nearby route for any suspicious activity.

“As a machine gunner, it is my responsibility to be able to determine what is happening around me and the convoy to determine if there is a threat in the area,” said Reams, a native of Kansas City, Missouri. “Enemy insurgents tend to blend in with the local population living in villages near Camp Dwyer, so it is important for us to gain trust with the locals by letting them know why we are operating outside of their villages.”

Charley Co. Marines deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan, during February from Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.

Although few in number, the leadership quality is high within the company.

“(Noncommissioned Officers) of Charley Co. are some of the best NCOs in the battalion,” said Therrien, a native of Seminole, Okla. “Their drive and determination to complete any mission places them above all others. They make this company run.”