2/7 Marines provide security for Operation Golden Gate [MIGRATE]

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Combat engineers man their heavy equipment, pushing thousands of pounds of earth around while building and improving an area vital to the progression of southern Afghanistan.

To enable the Marines, sailors and soldiers to focus on the mission at hand and to alleviate the worry of constantly looking over their shoulders for an enemy threat, the Marines of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7 are present and providing security.

Operation Golden Gate is the first major operation being conducted by RCT-7. It will provide the Sangin and Musa Qal’ah districts with a bridge to connect the two regions and aid in boosting local commerce and improving quality of life.

“For Golf Company, it’s definitely an honor to be a part of a big project like this,” said Capt. Miles G. Warren, the company’s commanding officer. “We’ve done minor platoon level operations, but nothing with this high of visibility on it.”

Golf Company plays a big part in this operation by keeping the enemy fighters at bay and protecting the troops on the ground from the local patrol base, which overlooks the entire construction area.

“Right now our main job is to provide security to the north and east of the Helmand river for the bridge construction,” said 1st Lt. Michael K. Murtaugh, 4th platoon commander with Golf Co. “We’re usually here for about two days at a time and with the platoons we have back at (Forward Operating Base) Sabit Qadam, it usually works out to us coming out here every week or so.”

Four platoons are tasked with the cumbersome mission of providing overwatch to the area, each one taking the burden of standing post for hours in the heat of the afternoon sun and during the cold, unforgiving nights in Sangin.

“No one wants to stand post, but there’s a purpose behind it,” said Cpl. Kyle M. Taormino, squad leader with 4th platoon. “Everybody has to do their part. It’s good what we’re doing, and it brings a sense of security to the guys on the ground. I know I would feel safer if I knew I had a bunch of (infantrymen) watching my back.” 

The Marines of Golf Company are used to taking the fight to the enemy, returning fire when fired upon and sending the insurgents on the retreat. As they provide security for Operation Golden Gate, they take the fight to the enemy in a different way by enabling the local people and creating an infrastructure that will last for years to come.

Marines with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, patrol through the construction site during Operation Golden Gate in Sangin, Afghanistan, Nov. 10, 2012. Golf Co. is tasked with providing security for the entire construction site along the Helmand River for the duration of the construction project.  A local villager guides a ferry across the Helmand River, the easiest mode of transportation across the body of water. With the river cutting off easy access to the Sangin bazaar, a point of main commerce for the area, Operation Golden Gate was christened to change that. The first large operation in Regimental Combat Team 7’s area of responsibility calls for a bridge more than 150 feet long and 24 feet wide to be placed across the river.  Lance Cpl. Michael Elliott, a rifleman with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, monitors the construction area during Operation Golden Gate, Nov. 14, 2012. Taking place in the Sangin district of Afghanistan, Operation Golden Gate will unite Sangin and Musa Qal’ah with a bridge that will span across the Helmand River.  Marines with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, conduct a routine patrol during Operation Golden Gate in Sangin, Afghanistan, Nov. 14, 2012. With a constant presence in the area, the Marines are tasked with the security of the construction site for the duration of the operation.