A Darkhorse Battalion Marine and the Family Left Behind

Kait Wyatt carries her 1-month-old son, Michael, at the burial for her husband, Marine Cpl. Derek Wyatt, at Arlington National Cemetery, Jan. 7. Photo by Evan Vucci/AP courtesy of NPR.org.

Before deploying with the Darkhorse Battalion, Marine Cpl. Derek Wyat recorded bedtime stories for his unborn son. His widow talked with NPR’s Tom Bowman for his ongoing series on the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment which suffered a record number of casualties while deployed in Afghanistan.

Part five of seven

Last year, on Dec. 6, Kait Wyatt was up early, making breakfast, when the doorbell rang at her home on the Camp Pendleton Marine base.

She opened the door. Two Marines stood there.

“I wanted it to be them telling me that he was OK, that he was hurt or something along those lines. But I knew,” Kait recalls.

“I automatically knew Derek had passed away,” she says.

Her husband, Cpl. Derek Wyatt, was serving in Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, known as “Darkhorse.”

Kait was pregnant: She was due to give birth in just a couple of weeks, in mid-December.

The Marines began the ritual, and Kait, who was 22 at the time, began to sob.

“I kind of heard Derek’s voice in the back of my head saying, ‘There’s nothing you can do about it now, sweetheart. You just need to be strong and to get through this last little bit of your pregnancy,’ ” she says. “And so I dried up my tears, and I asked: What do we do now?”

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

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Marine Familes’ Fears Grew with Darkhorse Battalion Losses

A roadside bomb killed Lance Cpl. James Boelk, 24, while he was on a foot patrol, Oct. 15, 2010. The Darkhorse infantry rifleman was on his first combat deployment. Photo Courtesy of the Boelk family.

During their first month in Afghanistan, October 2010, the Marines 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, known as Darkhorse, lost eight men. National Public Radio is running a seven part series on the unit that so far has the heaviest losses of any Marine unit deployed in Afghanistan in the last 10 years.

Part three of seven

Dave Boelk works for the Navy outside Washington, D.C. Every morning when he gets to work, he has a ritual: He turns on his computer and checks the military’s classified reports from Afghanistan.

On Oct. 15 last year, he noticed one report in particular.

“It was just talking about an IED explosion and how many people were injured. There was one KIA. I remember making the comment to some of my colleagues, like, wow, my son’s unit, somebody died, that really hits close to home,” he recalls.

Boelk went about his day. Five hours went by.

“Then I got a call from our daughter. And she said there were two Marines at our house, and immediately, kind of lost my composure at work, obviously. There was just total silence in the office. Of course, what can they say? I just shut off my computers and picked up my bags, and told them I had to go home,” Boelk says.

You can listen to Tom Bowman’s radio story and read the full web post HERE.

Darkhorse Marine Battalion Lived an “Afghan Hell on Earth”

The 3/5 Marine Darkhorse Battalion was involved in more than a hundred fire-fights within the first three weeks of arriving in Helmand Province October 2010. The Marine deaths started almost immediately according to Tom Bowman’s report on National Public Radio. Here’s part two in the seven part series on the Marine Darkhorse Battalion which suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the last decade of war in Afghanistan.

Cpl. David R. Hernandez/U.S. Marine Corps U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment and the Afghan National Army provide cover as they move out of a dangerous area after taking enemy sniper fire during a security patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, in November 2010. During its seven-month deployment, the 3/5 sustained the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the Afghan war, losing 25 men.

Second of seven parts

The Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment remember Sangin in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province as different from anywhere else they’d fought.

Sgt. Daniel Robert describes it as “hell.” Lance Cpl. Jake Romo calls it “the Wild West.” Lt. Col. Jason Morris says he’d heard it described as “the most dangerous place in Afghanistan.”

Morris was the commander of the Marines of the 3/5, known as “Darkhorse,” and Sangin had been a battleground long before he arrived.

You can listen to the story or read the full article HERE.

You can listen to 1st story in the series HERE.

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