'America's Battalion' In Afghanistan
The Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment — known as "America's Battalion" — were deployed in Afghanistan from May to November 2009 as part of a surge of 21,000 troops ordered up by President Obama early in his term. NPR followed the Marines, and their families, during the deployment.
Lance Cpl. Josh Apsey (second from left) takes a minute for one last photo with his wife, Carolyn (second from right), and parents, Vicki and Tom, before heading back to Afghanistan.
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Apsey, 20, is preparing to return to Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province for his second deployment. Much will be different this time -- he will be one of the more experienced members of his battalion, and he will be leaving a new family member behind: his wife.
November 20, 2009 When the Marines of "America's Battalion" first arrived in Afghanistan, they were eager to get into the fight against the Taliban. Now, as they wrap up their seven-month deployment — and after the loss of a dozen comrades — they see warfare in a different light.
November 17, 2009 Marines from "America's Battalion," the 2/8, are returning home this month from Afghanistan after a six-month deployment. But before they go, they are passing along vital knowledge of the enemy and the terrain of Helmand province to the Marines replacing them.
November 12, 2009 WHQRShortly after Marine Sgt. Thomas Joiner left for Afghanistan, his wife, Charmaine, couldn't make ends meet. Their five kids are worried he won't come back — and now the only boy, who is 8, is acting out. "I just can't wait to see his face again," Charmaine says. "And to feel him and touch him and to know he's really just standing there."
November 3, 2009 The Marines in Afghanistan's Helmand province are pursuing a counterinsurgency strategy of "hold to build" — pushing out the Taliban and helping the Afghan government bring a sense of normalcy to villages in a region known as the "snake's head."
October 27, 2009 The Marines of "America's Battalion" have been fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province since July. Now, as the Marines move south, looking to extend their area of operation, they are patrolling for the deadliest of threats: roadside bombs.