Lt. Col. Scott D. Leonard

Address to Troops of First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion

delivered 26 October 2010, Combat Outpost Payne, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Audio AR-XE mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

What we're about to do, gentlemen, okay, is something that is...going to be pretty historic here -- at the Blue Diamond, and as the Marines Chapter here in Afghanistan.

Alright, we're about to execute a raid down on the border of Pakistan in a town called Marjah. And it is a hub; it is a nucleus; it is a nexus of all bad things that are happening here in Helmand Province and in Kandahar Province. It is the tip, okay, of the funnel that brings all the bad stuff from outside of this country to that point, and then pushes it up here and makes life for the Afghan people, makes life for our -- ourselves, okay, and makes life for...our partner nations very difficult, challenging.

And this place has been -- been a...sore sport for quite awhile. And it's about time that somebody goes down there and addresses this problem and sets them back on their heels and takes away their capability, takes away their infrastructure, takes away their ability to -- to use this place for evil, alright, and to harm the people of Afghanistan and -- and the members of the ISAF forces that are out here.

The MAGTF [Marine Air-Ground Task Force] that we as a Marine Corps are famous for and the way we fight comes from a combination of this thing right here [M1A1 Abrams tank], things that drop from the sky from our pilots -- from our fixed wing, rotary wing -- comes from cannons, 155 [millimeter] cannons, that are in the parking lot over there, comes from our HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] rockets, and it comes on the backs of guys, like our CLC [Combat Logistics Company] that's out here, that gives us our fuel, that gives us our [unclear], that gives as our water, gives us those supplies that we need to be able to go to 120 kilometers to a place where there is nobody else.

There's no friendly forces south of where you're standing right now. There's no support. So if you don't bring it -- it ain't there waiting on you.

Everything you need to be successful on this mission, you have. You have it up here [points to his head]. You have it in the guy standing next to you, and the guy standing behind you. That's...what you've got.

So everything you need -- you don't need me; you don't need my staff. You need us to try and point you in the right direction. And then I need to take the leash off and let the dogs run. And that's what we're going to do.

You do what you've been trained to do. You do what your leadership's preach you to do. And you do what you know in your heart, and what you know up here [points to his head] is the right thing to do -- on this mission specifically.

Counterinsurgency is the name of the game here in Afghanistan.

I will tell you that this raid is a kinetic raid that lumps inside the counterinsurgency. The intent is to take care of the narco-trafficers, the Taliban training camps, the Al-Qaeda camps that are down there so that they can't use them anymore, and they won't come back. And we'll tell them, "Hey, you want to come back and rebuild this place? Go ahead. Rebuild it. We'll be back in three more months and do it again." We will come back here with every single person and every piece of -- of United States taxpayers' gear -- we'll come back north of that river.

That's my mindset. That's your mindset.

The characteristics of a raid are actions -- are violence of action, speed, swiftness, and a planned withdrawal. And that withdrawal includes everything out.

So the only thing -- the only thing I want to just say is thank you. Okay. Thank you for being patriots. Thank you for being inspirations to the rest of our country. And thank you for being marines, sailors, okay, and anything else that you do out there.

You humble me, gents. You really do.

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

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Image in Video Photo Credit: Cpl. Paul D. Zellner

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Page Updated: 8/1/22

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.