CAMP PENDLETON — Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in southwestern Afghanistan, said Wednesday that Camp Pendleton’s 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment drew one of the toughest assignments in Marine Corps history when it was sent in October to Sangin, a strategic crossroads town in Helmand province.
As security improves in other districts, insurgents are putting up a fierce fight with the Marines for control of Sangin, their last major population center in the province, Mills said via videoconference from Afghanistan.
“The bravery and the courage of the Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines stands with any unit in Marine Corps history, any unit,” Mills said.
Earlier that morning, the Pentagon announced the battalion’s 14th Marine killed in action in a little over a month operating in Sangin.
In the latest death, the son of a Marine general was killed on foot patrol by a roadside bomb. 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, a 29-year-old infantryman serving his third combat tour, died Tuesday. His father, Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly, is the head of Marine Forces Reserve based in New Orleans; he previously led Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a battalion in the Marine Corps at any time, in World War II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, that has pulled a tougher mission than what 3/5 has right now,” Mills said, “that has taken more hardship initially than 3/5, but has responded with more gallantry, with more valor, and more dedication and courage than the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines.”
Read the rest here.
Today is also the last day of the milblogger competition--Project Valour IT--to raise money to purchase technological devices to help wounded troops.