Marine 3/5 Battalion Not Prepared for Volume of Bombs

NPR Reporter Tom Bowman. Photo by Jacques Coughlin - courtesy of

A roadside bomb almost every other step – the Marines were not prepared for the sheer volume of explosive devices. That was the key reason the Darkhorse Battalion, known also as the 3/5,  has the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit in Afghanistan over the last 10 years according to NPR reports.

The casualties: 25 Marines were killed in the Darkhorse Battalion, 184 badly wounded during their seven month deployment reported Tom Bowman with National Public Radio.

Bowman has produced a seven part series following the Marines 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, from their October 2010 deployment to Afghanistan Helmand Province through their return home.

“I asked one Marine officer was it all worth it? And he said to me, it depends how Afghanistan turns out,” Bowman said in his most NPR recent story.

Part four of seven

Here Darkhorse Battalion’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jason Morris.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL JASON MORRIS: At the time, I was wondering, what are we doing wrong?

NPR HOST GUY RAZ: That’s the question we want to address today. NPR’s Tom Bowman joins me now. All week, he’s been telling the story of the Darkhorse Marines on the home front. And today, the fight in Afghanistan. Tom, good to have you here.

TOM BOWMAN: Good to be here, Guy.

RAZ: Why the units did this battalion take more casualties than the units that had been there before them?

BOWMAN: Well, you have to go back. The British had been there four years before Darkhorse came in. And they were in roughly the same area as the Marine battalion, but they had a different strategy. They didn’t move out into this area of orchards and fields and heavy brush that they called the Green Zone. And the Marines would frankly say, they didn’t take the fight to the enemy.

So, that meant that the Taliban had a relatively a safe haven here. They stockpiled the area with arms and they were able to sort of lace this area with roadside bombs since the British didn’t push into this area.

Now, the United States had been dealing with roadside bombs now for a decade. The key here was the volume of roadside bombs. The Marines had never seen anything like this before. They were everywhere, almost every other step.

You can read the full transcript and listen to Tom Bowman’s story HERE.


One Response

  1. They had a tough job and like Marines they finished it!

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