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Battleground Afghanistan Facts

Helmand Province, Afghanistan: United States Marine, Lance Corporal Joshua Martinez of HMLA 469, flies above Helmand Province, Afghanistan. In support of Marines working directly on the ground, Martinez and his crew patrol the skies above, waiting for a call.

Helmand Province, Afghanistan: United States Marine, Lance Corporal Joshua Martinez of HMLA 469, flies above Helmand Province, Afghanistan. In support of Marines working directly on the ground, Martinez and his crew patrol the skies above, waiting for a call. (View larger version)

Photograph by National Geographic Channel

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  • 2nd Battalion 5th Marines is the most highly decorated battalion in the Marine Corps.

  • The unit was formed in July, 1914 and has served in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam and has been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Their base is Camp Pendleton, California.

  • There are more than 1000 Marines and sailors in the battalion.

  • The battalion deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom at the end of Feb 2012 as part of Regimental Combat Team 6 (RCT 6) and were part of Regional Command (Southwest).

  • The unit worked in Afghanistan in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Their goals included defeating insurgents and handing over security for the region to the ANSF as the coalition drawdown continues.

  • During the deployment the unit conducted Operation Branding Iron in Helmand province around the area of Keshmesh Khan.

  • The battalion lost three Marines during the course of the deployment Sgt Wade Wilson, Cpl Anthony Servin and Lance Cpl Joshua Witman.

  • Belleau Wood and Hue City are two of the unit's most famous battles.

  • The unit and the battle for Hue City were portrayed in the movie 'Full Metal Jacket'.

  • The unit's motto 'Retreat Hell!' comes from the trenches of WWI in France when retreating French soldiers advised company commander Lloyd Williams to retreat at the Battle of Belleau Wood and he replied: 'Retreat? Hell, we just got here!'

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