2/9/2011 Garmsir District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Crpl Brock Bean of Ainsworth IA, holds a “Holly Stick” used for searching for IED’s while on patrol in southern Garmsir, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Members of 1st Platoon, Echo Co. 2/1 found 5 different IED’s within aprox 1 km while on this patrol.

In early December, Corporal Chad Wade of 1st Platoon, Echo Co. 2/1 USMC stepped on a Taliban improvised explosive device while on patrol with 1st Squad near Patrol Base Hernandez in southern Garmsir district, Helmand Province. His best friend, Corporal Seth Voie, a bomb dog handler had deployed with Wade, and was walking in front of him when the blast went off, kocking Voie to the ground. On February 9th, Crpl Voie returned to the place where his friend was killed for the first time since the incident.

Despite the tough, Alpha-male and “suck it up” image they are known for, after almost 10 years of war, the USMC has recently been putting it’s units through the new OSCAR program(Operational Stress Control and Readiness), which seeks to assist Marines in combat who may be having difficulties dealing with their wartime experiences. Rather than removing Marines having issues from the battlefield, Chaplains, senior Non-commissioned officers, and Corpsman, among others, are being encouraged to keep lines of communication open on the front lines, in the interst of keeping an at risk Marine with his tight-knit squad—which officials believe is the best support structure available.

Credit: Bryan Denton for The Wall Street Journal