HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan - 2nd Platoon, 4th Squad, Fox Company, 2/6 Marine Infantry pushed out of Combat Outpost Turbett before sunrise.
COP Turbett, which is near Forward Operating Base Marjah and is named for an engineer killed during the initial push into the Marjah region in February, routinely sends out patrols to counter Taliban activity.
Although the Marines have made substantial progress against the Taliban here, the Taliban still have influence in the area.
The first few hours were uneventful. Then, after the platoon had passed a group of buildings and had pushed on into an open field, the Taliban opened fire.
The Marines immediately turned and ran toward the sound of incoming fire. Taking cover in a shallow wadi - an irrigation ditch filled with foul water - the Marines laid down intense fire on the buildings.
Three Taliban fighters were spotted fleeing from the buildings into the dirt road. One fighter set up a automatic rifle and lay in wait for the Marines. He was spotted - and shot. He fell into a ditch, scrambled up and was rescued by other Taliban.
The Marines continued to fire in the direction of the fleeing enemy, but the Taliban fighters escaped into a nearby village where they could blend in with the local population.
The Marines’ discipline and judgement prevailed and they did not engage into an area where it may result in civilian casualties.
The Marines set up security and gathered intel. Then they returned to the outpost.
During the debrief, Lt. Jeff Turner 2nd Platoon Commander, told his men that they had fought well. “It was a good firefight,” he said looking around the room at his men. “It was a very good patrol.”