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Marjah veterans to reunite at Quantico five years later

By John Hollis | Marine Corps Base Quantico | January 23, 2015

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An appearance by Medal of Honor recipient William Kyle Carpenter will highlight the upcoming fifth-year reunion of the Marines, soldiers, sailors and coalition forces who participated in one of the largest operations in the Global War on Terror.

The Marjah Marines Reunion will take place aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico over the weekend of Feb. 12-14, starting with a two-hour Operation Moshtarak panel discussion at Little Hall by some of the ferocious battle in Afghanistan’s key players on Feb. 12 before the following day’s Reunion Dinner at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

All events are open to anyone who wishes to attend.

“The reunion is honoring all “Marjah Marines” and soldiers, sailors and coalition forces, not just those in the “push” or on Operation Moshtarak proper,” said Capt. Wes Jagoe, the Marjah veteran organizing the reunion. “Marines were fighting for that town from 2010-2013.”

Carpenter, who served in Marjah, was awarded the nation’s highest honor for valor after lunging atop an enemy grenade to save a fellow Marine while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. Now a fulltime student at the University of South Carolina, the retired corporal will serve as the Guest of Honor for the Reunion Dinner to be held at the NMMC’s Leatherneck Gallery Feb. 13.

Tickets to the dinner must be purchased prior to the event. Visit MarjahVeterans.com for information.

Operation Moshtarak, which was the name of the offensive on Marjah, began in February 2010 when the American-led coalition first took aim at the Taliban stronghold in the volatile Helmand Province at the southern end of the country.

Marjah and the surrounding area had been used by the Taliban as source for fighters, suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices. The area was also a source of income for the Taliban because of its many lucrative poppy fields.

Roughly 15,000 coalition and Afghan forces descended upon the city to liberate it from the Taliban. By the time the operation was formally declared over in December 2010, resulting in the loss of a significant number of coalition service members.

An all-star panel discussion, which will be sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps History Division, will feature Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman, who commanded the 1st Marine Division (Fwd) during the second half of Operation Moshtarak; Maj. Gen. James Hartsell, the former 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade liaison officer with Regional Command-South during Operation Moshtarak; Col. Randy Newman, the former Regimental Combat Team 7 commander during Operation Moshtarak; and Kael Weston, the former political advisor to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade commanding general. Others set to participate in the panel include author Bing West.

“The discussion panel would be a great opportunity for young Marines to learn about an epic battle in USMC history from those who led it,” Jagoe said.

The Marine Corps Association and Foundation is supporting the reunion dinner.

“After 14 years of war, it would be quite easy for a place like Marjah to fade into history,” Jagoe said. “Therefore, the goals of this reunion are to keep the brotherhood among Marjah veterans, keep the Marjah legacy alive and to honor the fallen and their families.”

Marjah veterans can be found on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BattleOfMarjahVeterans.

— Writer: jhollis@quanticosentryonline.com
















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