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42 Commando build links with Helmand community

May 7, 2011

After arriving in Helmand last month, Royal Marines from 42 Commando are showing they have a firm handle on security in the Shahzad area and are building links with the local population through regular shuras.

Marines from 42 Commando on patrol in the Shahzad area of Afghanistan's Helmand province. Picture: BFBS 2011

It has been five weeks since 42 Commando Royal Marines took over security in this part of Nad ‘Ali (North) and inherited the improving security situation from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, who endured fierce fighting to help stabilise the area just a few months ago.

42 Commando are currently conducting daily patrols which are helping to provide reassurance for the local Afghan population and weekly shuras which are proving to be an important listening post in the communities.

Commenting on the first shura they held, Commanding Officer of 42 Commando Royal Marines, Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Murchison, said:

“The shura is good. It’s the first one I’ve done in Chah-e Anjir with the local DCC [District Community Council] members. These are the people we’re trying to get to connect the Government of Afghanistan with the traditional elders. There were some good atmospherics and some positive feedback.”

It’s not only the Afghan people who seem to be benefiting from the shuras. The Royal Marines believe their efforts are being appreciated.

Members of 42 Commando at a shura in Shahzad, Nad 'Ali. Picture: BFBS 2011

Warrant Officer Trev Trevarthen said:

“They’re really grateful. I think people think they just take from us all the time, but obviously we don’t build anything they ask for. We’ll go and look at it and make sure that it will benefit the community and at the end of it, when you see their faces, when they have a well in their community, it’s great.”

Although the progress being made in the area is palpable, there are concerns that once the poppy harvest is over in a few weeks, trouble may once again spread across the community.

Sergeant Rob Driscoll said:

“I think after the poppy harvests, unfortunately, the young males around here will take arms and we’ll see an increase in the kinetic activity, but it’s been an ideal bedding in period and it can only work in our favour.”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. nldjohn permalink
    May 7, 2011 22:24

    Dear editor,
    As stated in your Helmand Blog (NewPost) the actual handover of command from 3PARA to 42 Commando did not take place 5 weeks ago but on 25th of April (see your new post of that date).

    • May 8, 2011 12:09

      I am very grateful to you for taking the time to leave a comment. I can understand why this may have caused confusion; but a handover such as this can not and does not happen overnight. The Relief in Place (RiP) has been on-going since the middle of March, as various elements of HERRICK 13 are replaced by elements of HERRICK 14. When all aspects of this are complete, then one regiment can ‘officially’ hand over to the next (even though the may have been doing the work and unofficially handed over a couple of weeks prior to that!) and, once all the regiments have swapped, then the offical brigade handover can occur.
      I hope this answers your question and clears up any confusion; please do not hesitate to respond if it does not. Regards, Flt Lt Nick D – editor.

      • nldjohn permalink
        May 8, 2011 18:22

        Dear Nick D.
        Why was the handover of 2PARA niet officially mentioned in your new news or did I miss something? I was eagerly awaiting news since my son is serving in 2PARA D Coy. They left PB1 on 30th of April.
        Thank you for reaction.
        Regards, John H. -parent

      • May 11, 2011 13:48

        Dear John

        Thank you taking the time to leave a comment on the blog.

        I totally appreciate you frustration at seeing news coverage and stories about some units coming home from HERRICK 13, but not others. Great if your son or daughter, husband or wife is mentioned in some way, but very frustrating and possibly upsetting if not.

        All I can say, from my personal perspective as the editor of the site, is that this is absolutely not done intentionally and I think it probably goes without saying that we are all fiercely proud of absolutely everyone out here for what they have achieved. From my position in Camp Bastion, I have to try and cover all elements of Op HERRICK from as far afield as Kabul in the north to Kandahar over in the east. My main focus, understandably, is within Task Force Helmand and this itself encompasses thousands of troops and dozens of units and locations. For this reason, I have to rely on Press Officers and reports being sent to me and some of these people are better at keeping me informed than others! Some are also just too busy or too remote to do this and feeding the media is not their priority.

        I do try and provide a balanced number of stories though and page after page of homecoming parade stories would not appeal to the wider UK audience – I hope you can appreciate that. I am however now frantically looking around for ‘2 PARA homecoming stories’ and will post something on the site if I can find it.

        I sincerely hope that your son got home safely and is enjoying the time off that he so richly deserves. I never had the pleasure or the honour of meeting him personally, but please pass on my regards to a fellow soldier.

        Kind regards,

  2. Shadowman permalink
    May 8, 2011 05:00

    Another good article!
    About the young men in the area taking up arms after the poppy harvest – is there *any way* to stop them doing that?
    What I’m thinking of is to find them some kind of activity or work that they find useful or fun, rather than having to shoot at Nato/ISAF soldiers.
    Surely it is much better to stop the problem before it starts.

    • Shadowman permalink
      May 9, 2011 03:26

      Expanding on my previous comment, I was thinking of either work or sports (or a combination of both) to get the young men occupied.

      Hey, how about this – how about the idea of a “neighbourhood watch”?
      Make these guys the “eyes and ears” of the community.
      Get the guys into that – give them a little training (and maybe even a small salary). For those who show real aptitude and keenness, they could be offered training in the ANA or ANP.
      Wouldn’t a “neighbourhood watch” be useful?
      Keen to hear your comments on this, editor.🙂

  3. damon permalink
    June 14, 2011 18:20

    hey i love what you are doing out there

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