Petraeus notes success in Southern Helmand

30 May 2011 | Sgt. J.R. Stence

Gen. David Petraeus, the commanding general of International Security Assistance Force, toured Camp Dwyer on Memorial Day to evaluate Regimental Combat Team 1’s progress in Southern Helmand province.
Petraeus received a brief on counterinsurgency operations in the region, spoke to Afghan National Security Forces personnel, and addressed a gathering of approximately 75 service members inside the RCT-1 headquarters compound.

He noted progress in the region, specifically in Marjah district, which was widely regarded as an insurgent stronghold less than two years ago.

“I have to tell you, I never would have expected to see the kind of progress that has been achieved there over the subsequent 15 months or so,” Petraeus said.

During Petraeus’ tour, Col. David Furness, the RCT-1 commander, led him through the regiment’s Combat Operations Center. The COC, a data hub on RCT-1 counterinsurgency activities, is manned by Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers. While there, Petraeus shook hands with coalition personnel and briefly evaluated a few ANA soldiers on their knowledge of the area and their competence with communications equipment.

Petraeus also shared a brief Memorial Day message with Marines and sailors gathered outside the COC.

“I would ask that each of you privately … remember those buddies, your personal buddies, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in these endeavors …” Petraeus said. “We must never ever forget them, and we must never forget their loved ones, and that is a commitment I think our country takes very seriously. So, on this Memorial Day, let’s resolve to continue the mission for which they gave their lives …”

The mission of ISAF is to partner with Afghan National Security Forces and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations to secure the Afghan people, defeat insurgent forces and enable ANSF assumption of security responsibilities in the nation.

Regimental Combat Team 1 supports 2nd Marine Division (Forward), the ground combat element with Regional Command (Southwest). The RC marshals Marine Corps infantry, aviation and logistics elements in support of the ISAF mission in Helmand.