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Face of Defense: Marine Leads Convoy in Afghanistan

By Marine Corps Cpl. Aaron Rooks
Special to American Forces Press Service

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Sept. 14, 2009 – A Marine successfully led a Sept. 8 convoy to resupply fellow Marines and Afghan soldiers serving in the Helmand River valley here.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Steven Baker stands in front of a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle Sept. 8, 2009, in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Baker served on a convoy as assistant convoy commander. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Aaron Rooks
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Steven Baker of Milwaukee and his platoon of Marines joined members of the Afghan National Army and their United Kingdom mentors in a convoy from Camp Leatherneck to Forward Operating Base Dwyer to deliver building supplies and mechanical parts to their comrades.

The convoy, led by Baker's unit, Truck Platoon 2, General Support Motor Transport Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan, consisted of more than 40 vehicles, ranging from 7-ton trucks loaded with metal containers to small pickup trucks operated by the Afghan army.

Baker, the motor transport platoon sergeant for Truck Platoon 2, described the mission as unique because it was the first combined operation among the U.K., Marine and Afghan soldiers within the brigade's area of operations.

The company’s Marines have grown accustomed to traveling to Forward Operating Base Dwyer for resupply missions that can take up the better part of a day.

"We bring everything so that the infantrymen and other units can function," said Marine Corps Cpl. A.M. Peterson, one of Baker's motor transport operators with Truck Platoon 2. "We bring the [ammunition] and everything else. Time is of the essence because of this. If we can't get the gear to where we are going in a timely manner, the unit waiting for the supplies will have to run with the bare minimum instead of what they need."

During resupply missions, Baker provides oversight of the entire convoy, ensuring that accountability is maintained and that every piece of gear reaches its destination. His first convoy with the Afghan and U.K. troops "went better than I ever expected," he said.

The 15-year Marine veteran deployed with the transport company in May and is slated to return to his home station in Okinawa, Japan, this winter.

(Marine Corps Cpl. Aaron Rooks serves in the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.)

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