KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) deployed to southwestern Afghanistan with a primary mission: to provide support for Marines and their Afghan and coalition partners on the ground.
But that hasn’t kept wing Marines at Kandahar Airfield from doing what Marines do best, providing security with a rifle in hand.
Marines from Marine Attack Squadron 513, Marine Air Control Group 28, Marine, Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40 are augmenting with NATO International Security Assistance Force military police at Kandahar to supplement security operations around the installation
As part of the security operations, the augments assist with customs inspection, identification checks and vehicle searches.
The augmentation is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Kandahar military police and units who call the airfield home to deter would-be lawbreakers.
“Police work is based on prevention first,” explained U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chad Hashley, a Kandahar operative with the ISAF military police, and Lake Hills, Texas, native. “We show the people the circumstances of breaking the law so they won’t do it.”
Policing Kandahar Airfield’s fluctuating population of more than 30,000, comprised of troops and civilians from around the globe is no small task, so military police turn to units based at the airfield for assistance. The augmented troops mean more presence for the military police.
On June 8, a number of Marines with 2nd MAW (Fwd.) assisted as military police augments. The day passed on without issue until the last vehicle search.
“The floormat [of the truck] was all mangled on one corner,” said Cpl. Cody Harris, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40 flight equipment mechanic and Italy, Texas, native. “I lifted it up and it was cut into layers so they could put multiple things in there.”
In the truck, Harris discovered a contraband substance the military police called nuswar, a goat pellet infused with opium, created after goats graze poppy fields.
“I felt like I was actually making a difference out here helping the MPs,” said Cpl. Benjamin Simoni, a Marine Air Control Group 28 communications technician and Largo, Fla., native, who assisted in speaking to Afghan civilians with his use of the Pashto language.
“Searching the 18-wheelers was an eye-opener of what can happen and what goes on,” said Lance Cpl. Eric Falcon, a VMA-513 flight safety equipment mechanic and Lubbock, Texas., native.
Standard inspections had the Marines on the lookout for contraband, such as drugs, alcohol or pornography, while also verifying identification papers.
“You get to see how MPs work around Kandahar air base,” added Cpl. Shiloh Haynes, a VMA-513 powerline mechanic and Parker, Colo., native. “I think it’s important, it keeps us safe.”
Connect with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) throughout the deployment. Stay up to date with the latest 2nd MAW (Fwd.) news, photos and videos at http://www.facebook.com/2ndmawfwd.