27 October 2014

Marines Hand Over Camp Leatherneck

Camp Leatherneck , the Corps' last remaining base in Afghanistan, was transferred to the Afghan National Army on Sunday. (Cpl. Meredith Brown / Marine Corps)

From the Marine Corps Times:

Marines in Afghanistan handed over the Corps’ last remaining base there to Afghan National Army troops Sunday, marking the official end of the service’s primary work in support of the war.

Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan’s Helmand province and the adjacent British airfield, Camp Bastion, were both transferred from International Security Assistance Force control to Afghan authority in a ceremony attended by Marine, U.K., and Afghan military leaders.

The transferr marks the close of the NATO and allied war mission in Regional Command Southwest, overseeing Helmand and Nimroz provinces. It also represent the start of a more rapid withdrawal for the Marines remaining in Afghanistan. According to the Washington Post, Marines and British troops remaining in Helmand are tasked with maintaining security for Leatherneck and Bastion until they return to their home stations.

Helmand province has been the location of some of the most costly battlegrounds of the war in Afghanistan, including Marjah and Sangin district. The latter region alone saw the deaths of 50 Marines and 100 British troops as they fought to weaken an insurgency fueled by a thriving drug trade from Sangin’s opium-producing poppy plants.

Over the course of the 13-year war, 458 Marines died supporting combat operations in Afghanistan, according to data from the Defense Casualty Analysis System.

We are deeply proud and grateful for every single Marine who served in Afghanistan over the past 13 years, and we honor the sacrifices of the many fallen and wounded. God bless and Semper Fi.

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