WASHIR, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan -- An urgent call from the front lines of the Afghan National Army’s 1st Kandak’s operation in Washir did not go unheard. A need for more fuel, water and food for the Afghan soldiers and their Marine counterparts was answered by Regimental Combat Team 8’s Motor Transportation section June 8.
“The call came in, and within two hours, my Marines had the trucks packed and ready to go,” said 1st Lt. Brian Geisen, the motor transportation officer for RCT-8. “My three corporals took care of picking up the necessities and getting everything loaded and strapped down. Now we just had to move it.”
“They were so far away from the base, they couldn’t transport both fuel and water out to where they were operating,” said Cpl. Paul Scarfo, motor transportation operator. “If this resupply didn’t go, they wouldn’t have any food or water. Marines take care our own and our ANA brothers.”
The movement to the operation area was not an easy task. It required slow steady movements with off-road driving skills expected of the best motocross drivers. The convoy turned and slithered its way through the thick dust of fine sand, down embankments and across seemingly impassible trenches. These obstacles were no match for the drive and determination of the Marines, knowing the cargo they were hauling was necessary to sustaining the mission in Washir.
“There were times we thought the pallets were going to topple over,” said Lance Cpl. Rolando Fraga, motor transportation operator.
The darkness had set in by the time the convoy reached its destination. Lining the vehicles up, the motor transportation Marines began staging for the supply drop off. The 7-ton truck with fuel set up like a mobile gas station in the middle of what was considered the “safe zone” for the operation. One by one, the 1st Kandak’s vehicles began pulling up to the fuel truck.
While the vehicles were gassing up, the Marines found a spot to drop off their remaining water and food. The Marines began to off-load. Case after case of water was handed down to Marines and then stacked neatly in the area: overall, more than 11,000 bottles of water and 3,800 Meals, Ready to Eat.
“There is no job we can’t do,” said Scarfo, a Meridian, Conn., native, referring to the missions of resupply and maintenance the motor transportation section does on a daily basis.
When the water and food drop off was completed, the Marines set to rest for night, knowing the next day would bring the challenges of a long return trip to Forward Operating Base Delaram II.
“It’s all worth it,” added Scarfo. “It’s worth the long hours in 100 plus degree heat to make sure everyone has what they need. This case it was water, food and fuel, but the next mission could mean other assistance like parts or maintenance.”