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.”