CLR 2 closes FOB Shamsher
By Cpl. Lia Adkins
| II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) | March 14, 2013
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHAMSHER, Afghanistan --
As the Marine Corps transitions security to Afghan National Security Forces, forward operating bases are rapidly closing and equipment is being retrograded out of Afghanistan. Of 193 coalition posts throughout Helmand at the beginning of 2012, only 45 remain.
Transportation Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, has been a vital part of the process since they arrived here in January.
The Marines of 3rd Platoon convoyed to Forward Operating Base Shamsher in the district of Sangin, March 10, to support its closing.
“(The units there are) closing that base down, but they [still] had a lot of equipment there,” said 2nd Lt. Kristin L. Kohler, 3rd Platoon commander.
“We’ve seen it change drastically,” she continued. “It was a full-fledged FOB with a motor [transport] platoon, engineers and other entities. Now it only has what is needed to sustain it.”
Lance Cpl. Dakota Vlach, a motor transport operator, said the unit has been to the base several times, each time backhauling more equipment.
On this convoy, Marines loaded a forklift, ISO containers, fuel containers and other miscellaneous equipment and transported it all back to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, where it will be reutilized or shipped back to the U.S.
The more difficult piece of equipment to load and backhaul was a Persistent Ground Surveillance System— a helium-filled, 75-foot long balloon that resembles a blimp and is used as a security measure. It has a camera attached to the belly that gives Marines a detailed view of their surroundings.
“It was a big asset to the Marines there and has a lot of equipment that comes with it,” said Kohler.
It took more than three trucks to haul back the system, which includes the balloon itself, a trailer used to monitor the system and compressed helium tanks.
Tire tracks and flattened sand will soon be the only evidence left of the Marines presence at the FOB, but 3rd Platoon will continue convoys throughout Helmand province as more FOBs are scheduled to close.
“Logistics is the main effort right now,” said Kohler. “A lot of people don’t know about these operations, but it’s very important for the [security transition]. It amazes me every time I watch my Marines get out there and load all this stuff up, and I’m very lucky to have a platoon this good.”