An AH-1 Cobra from HMLA-369 was shot down while in support of India Company during Operation THRESHER, killing the two pilots. The operation was suspended one day for a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel mission.
DOD Identifies Marine Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. The following Marines died July 22 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Mario D. Carazo, 41, of Springfield, Ohio.
Maj. James M. Weis, 37, of Toms River, N.J.
Carazo and Weis were assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
For additional background information on these Marines, news media representatives may contact the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing public affairs office at 858-577-6000.
Source: Department of Defense
2 Americans killed in copter crash in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan – A helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing two U.S. service members, NATO forces said. The Taliban claimed it shot down the craft, but NATO said it was still investigating.
Hostile fire has not been ruled out in the crash in Helmand province, said Lt. Commander Katie Kendrick, a spokeswoman for the military coalition.
Though helicopters more regularly go down because of mechanical issues in Afghanistan, some have been brought down by insurgent fire. In June, the Taliban shot down a helicopter in Helmand, killing four U.S. service members.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed in a telephone call to The Associated Press that the insurgent group shot the chopper down.
Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Helmand provincial government, said the helicopter went down in the area of provincial capital Lashkar Gah.
Copyright © Associated Press 2010
Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device
For heroic service in connection with combat operations against the enemy while serving as Commanding Officer, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan from 1 May 2010 to 30 November 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Captain Zavala planned and led five named combat operations against enemy forces in Aynak and Trek Nawa in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province while simultaneously engaging key local leaders, Afghan National Security Forces, and the local population. He exhibited complete disregard for his own personal safety during four kinetic engagements while exposing himself to effective enemy fire in order to successfully lead the Marines under his charge. While on a clearing mission, he led a company with Afghan Soldiers in response to a downed AH-1W Cobra by sprinting more than three kilometers in full combat equipment, securing the site for 24 continuous hours which prevented the deceased pilots from being taken into enemy hands. He personally coordinated with the company, battalion, and division mobile elements to provide site security for the downed helicopter. He led the company during ten troops-in-contact, 35 small arms engagements, and successfully targeted eight Improvised Explosive Device emplacers using mortars, artillery, and aviation assets as well as responding to 16 Improvised Explosive Device strikes, 19 Improvised Explosive Device finds, 14 caches, six detainees, and six friendly medical evacuations. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Captain Zavala reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
For heroic service in connection with combat operations against the enemy while serving as First Sergeant, Company I, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), from 1 May 2010 to 30 November 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. First Sergeant Pinkerton provided decisive battlefield leadership during five named operations against enemy forces in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. With complete disregard for his own safety during multiple kinetic engagements, he frequently exposed himself to effective enemy fire in order to successfully lead the Marines under his charge. His courageous example rapidly won the trust of Afghan local nationals and security forces alike. On 22 July 2010, while partnered with Afghan Soldiers, First Sergeant Pinkerton led the Company in an immediate response to a downed AH-1W Cobra helicopter. The partnered forces sprinted three kilometers in full combat equipment and secured the site for 24 hours, preventing the enemy from capturing the deceased pilots remains, and provided site security for the downed helicopter. His sage combat leadership was critical to the Company’s success during numerous engagements, and in the successful targeting of eight Improvised Explosive Device emplacements using supporting arms. He led the Companys Marines from the front during 16 Improvised Explosive Device strikes, 19 device finds, 14 cache finds, captured 6 detainees and executed 6 friendly medical evacuations. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, First Sergeant Pinkerton reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.