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Head of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan visits Royal Marines in Helmand

June 4, 2011

The Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan has paid a visit to members of 42 Commando Royal Marines and their Estonian coalition partners.

General David Petraeus, Commander of NATO International Security Assistance Force and Commander of the U.S. Forces Afganistan, visited the Commanding Officer of 42 Commando Royal Marines Lt Col Murchison at Patrol Base Wahid, Nadi-e Ali North. Photo: LA(Phot) David Hillhouse. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

General David Petraeus flew to the Estonian run Patrol Base (PB) Wahid in Nad-e Ali North where Royal Marines live and work alongside Estonian soldiers. Both forces have recently been involved in Operation OMID HAFT – the biggest operation of HERRICK 14 so far.

J Company and L Company 42 Commando have played a central role in the operation, to clear insurgents from the Loy Mandeh area of Central Helmand. Tragically, two Royal Marines, Lieutenant Ollie Augustin and Marine Sam Alexander MC lost their lives during the operation.

General Petraeus arriving aboard a Chinook helicopter. Photo: LA(Phot) David Hillhouse. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

Gen Petraeus, who was accompanied by the Commander of Regional Command South West, General John Toolan, the Commander of Task Force Helmand, Brigadier Ed Davis and Michael O’Neill, the head of the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team, spent time with the Commanding Officer of 42 Commando Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Murchison who briefed the visitors on how the operation has been going.

Lt Col Ewen Murchison, CO of 42 Commando said:

“The visit by Gen Petraeus and Gen Toolan was extremely well received at PB Wahid, where they were afforded the opportunity to meet elements of the NDA(N) Battlegroup, namely the Royal Marines of 42 Commando and the Estonian soldiers of 12 Estonian Company – all of whom were intimately involved in the recent operation to isolate and secure Loy Mandeh Kalay from the insurgents as part of Operation OMID HAFT.”

The visitors spoke to members of 42 Commando who were involved in OMID HAFT, both on the ground in the Loy Mandeh area and in support of the operation back in the Headquarters at Patrol Base Shahzad.

Gen Petraeus walking with Lt Col Murchison (left) and the Regimental Sergeant Major of 42 Commando WO1 Gilby (right). Photo: LA(Phot) David Hillhouse. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

Gen Petraeus also met with the Company Commander EstCoy 12 – Major Marting Kukk and the Estonian National Contingent Commander Lt Col Anto Kergand to thank them for their support to the ISAF mission.

Speaking about the visit, Maj Kukk, Commander of EstCoy 12 said:

“The visit of General Petraeus was really motivating for Estonian soldiers, who make a great contribution in Afghanistan’s most complicated area on a daily basis.”

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