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Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan

Active Military
Active Military
March 4, 2019
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Editors Note: What we're about to relate to you was told to us by one of the NCO's from 1/7 who was there when this occurred. It is a firsthand account. It is out of his love of his brothers that perished that the story of their heroism and devotion to duty be told to the world. As you find yourself reading this remember, many of these young men are in their early to late twenties or even younger. Warriors still exist. Mind you, these are not Special Operations forces. These are "regular" infantry Marines, but as you'll see, there is nothing "regular" about them at all.In Afghanistan, June of 2012, Marines from 1st Battalion 7th Marine Regiment (1/7) and 1st Battalion 8th Marine Regiment (1/8), three platoon-sized elements, endured 9 intense attacks and ambushes over the course of two days. RPG's, frag grenades, machine gun fire, and IEDs were all brought to bear on these men, who'd been sent to gather intelligence and set up a patrol base for future operations.During the initial hours of the operation, in the early morning hours, 1st Platoon of 1/7 Dog Co. was attacked via mortars, RPGs, machine gun and AK fire. No casualties. 2 hours later 1st platoon B Company 1/8 was ambushed while setting up the patrol base and took one KIA. 1/7 Dog Co. finishes setting up the patrol base and subsequently gets attacked for their troubles. Frag grenades initiate the attack and wounded several Marines and the Corpsman. Corporal Sams had a collapsed lung and Doc Ellis, despite being wounded, immediately rendered aid to Corporal Sams. The other Marines ascended to the rooftop and started dumping accurate fire into the enemy.While setting up an LZ for Cpl Sams, the two LZ teams were ambushed. PFC Stevens, the point man, was killed immediately by a burst of machine gun fire and RPG shrapnel. Pinned down by enemy fire, Lcpl Horton dashed 200 meters back to the patrol base, informed leadership, gathered reinforcements and a stretcher to retrieve PFC Stevens. After fighting off the ambush and returning to the patrol base the Marines fought off another three attempts to overrun their position with no casualties. All was quiet for now...

The next day while conducting security patrols the Marines captured one high-value target known for distributing IED materials and planning attacks. While fingerprinting more people, 1/7 Dog Co. 1st Platoon...ambushed again, repelled again, no casualties. Patrolled back to patrol base, troops in contact again...time for this shit to end. Five hundred pound bomb solved that problem.1st Squad from 1st platoon Dog Co. 1/7 departs to royally ruin the enemies day. Enroute to the enemy, Lcpl Coti-Sears finds an IED, which he steps on during the enemy initiated firefight that took place soon after. Sgt Rick cleared up to Lcpl Coti Sears and assessed his wounds. They were devastating. Several amputations would have been made. After he was loaded onto the medevac helicopter, Lcpl Coti-Sears passed away from his wounds.At the end of the operation, two Marines from 1/8 had been KIA, two Marines from 1/7 had been KIA and one Marine from 1st Tanks had been KIA.

Over the course of two days, these Marines endured relentless attacks by an enemy that was well prepared, supplied and dug in. Both PFC Stevens and Lcpl Coti-Sears were killed while leading the way. It takes a heart of steel and an iron will to be the first man the enemy will see. While many Marines were awarded for their actions over these two days, let us not forget the young men who led the way, who took point and exemplified the fighting spirit, tenacity, and aggressiveness in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps.Semper Fidelis brothers.

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