India Company 2004-2005


Geography and Mission

050507-M-4697Y-010After arriving on 21 November 2004, India Company quickly took over its area of operations in Kunar Province, and were based out of FOB Asad Abad / Camp Wright and Camp Blessing in Nangalam. The Marine presence in Kunar was extremely recent: the previous battalion had only been in Camp Blessing for a month and had not been in Asad Abad. As the first sustained conventional presence in Kunar, India was tasked by battalion with killing or capturing specific individuals belonging to Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda who were operating in the region. In mid-December, India conducted Operation CORNHUSKERS, one of the first operations into the Korengal Valley. As Camp Blessing was subject to frequent rocket attacks, India spent considerable time conducting counter-rocket patrols. India also helped oversee the dismantling of some Afghan Militia Forces (AMF).

In January, both Kunar Province and the Korengal Valley became the battalion’s main focus of effort. In part due to numerous reports suggesting a planned large-scaled attack on FOB Asad Abad, India helped conduct a preemptive clearing operation, SPURS, in late January. India also began operating in the Korengal at LZ Lumber Yard. India also conducted operations in the nearby Pech and Rechah Lam valleys throughout the winter. Starting in mid-March, enemy activity in India’s AO began to pick up. Although the company engaged in several firefights through the end of the month, India Marines remained in their respective areas to keep the pressure on enemy forces. During this time, India began to focus on one particular target, Najmuddin. His surrender on 10 April, coupled with the capture of several other high-value individuals belonging to an IED cell, was the high watermark for battalion’s entire deployment, although individuals would continue to turn themselves in to India Company through late May. India also began operations again a new target, Ahmed Shah, who would become infamous in the aftermath of Operation RED WINGS.

India Company was replaced by Echo Company, 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines on 14 June 2005 and returned to Marine Corps Base Hawaii with the battalion one week later.

The Men

Command Element

Commanding Officer: Captain James Sweeney

Executive Officer: 1st Lieutenant Justin Bellman

First Sergeant: 1st Sergeant John Krumholz

Forward Air Controller: Captain Donald Blume

Forward Observer: 1st Lieutenant Matthew Brigance

Headquarters Platoon

Captain Donald Blume III

Corporals Harry Good Jr, Brian Martin, and Joseph Wakefield

Lance Corporals Daniel Beasley, Matthew Brinker, Aaron Eichel, Michael Estrella, Louis Ihrig III, Joseph Orth

Corpsmen: Hospital Corpsman Second Class Christian Hans,

1st Platoon

2nd Lieutenant Richard Posselt and Gunnery Sergeant Ralph Torres

Staff Sergeant Robert Foster

Sergeants Reginald Daniels and Jason Kelley

Corporals Johnny Cagle, Eric Flanagan, Kevin Imhof, Teodoro Ramos and James Rogers Jr

Lance Corporals Daniel Alfieri, Nathan Barnes, Jose Berrios, Michael Burton, Matthew Cawley, Frederick Eaton Jr, Sean Farrell, Brian Fuellenbach, Robert Graham, Timothy Grajko, Malcolm Gray, Reginald Hodge, Jeremy Hogan, Eric Kerr, Michael Knight, Radoslaw Krol, Gregory Lewandusky, Timothy Mcintyre Jr, David Mclaurin Jr, James Obrien and Brian Thomas

Privates First Class Daniel Allman, David Arthur, William Barnett, Joshua Bertrand, William Bolanos, Joshua Bolden, Joel Bolivar, John Brockmiller, Shawn Butts, Jory Camille, Michael Cannava, Donald Clark II, Preston Daniels, Aaron Davis, Sean Decoursey, Michael Delancey, Gregory Dellavalle, Daniel Descoteaux, Thomas Desrosiers, Jacob Erdmanis, Jason Fields, Lennie Foxwell, Andrew Freudenberg Jr, Eric Gorczynski, Christopher Hodges, Phillip Jenkins, Timmy King Jr, Brandon Tolliver, Daniel Wiesen, and Thomas Woulfe

Corpsmen: Hospital Corpsman Second Class Gideon Kain and Hospital Corpsman Third Class Gilbert Festin

2nd Platoon

2nd Lieutenants Gary “Roy” Bechtold and Michael Mckenna

Staff Sergeants Timothy Ledbeter and Kent Urey Jr

Sergeants Samuel Bass, Shawn Kelly, Derek Mensen, and Jason Sakowski

Corporals Cole Burdette, Michael Dunn, David Parkinson, Benjamin Tibbs, and John Young III

Lance Corporals Nicholas Andoscia, Tommy Bautista, Patrick Burke Jr, Charles Crappel, Delsin Dash, Timothy Davis, Steven Depreaux, David Gemmell, Micheal Guynes, Robert Hagy, Jeffrey Heath, Brandon Huey, Rodney Jenkins, Ryan Miles, and Christopher Riling

Privates First Class Brendon Fitzgerald and Daniel Parker

Corpsmen: Hospital Corpsman Third Class Paul Caddali, Tavis Jones, and Martin Lopez Jr

3rd Platoon

2nd Lieutenant Peter Ankney and Staff Sergeant Elcana Williams III

Sergeants Daniel Brewer, Nathan McCallum, and Claude Watson

Corporals Mikkel Boiser, Jason Burch, Jason Cederberg, Russell Douthat, Edward Farish, Jason Greaney, Steven Himes, Gideon Hornung, and David Perinchief

Lance Corporals Michael Abbatello, Brock Brothers, Marcus Castillo, Ryan Eberlin, Tracy Hall,  Jerome Lindsey III, Phong Nguyen, William Noble, and Noel Steen

Privates First Class Robert Ahumada Jr, Nathan Becklo, Ryan Bergeman, Matthew Calvert, Julio Chavez, Michael Crane Jr, Matthew Dykas, Joseph Garrison, Ian Ladmirault, and Jeremy Schumacher

Corpsman: Hospital Corpsman Third Class Christopher Jaklitsch

Weapons Platoon

1st Lieutenant Michael McKenna and Gunnery Sergeant Jay Vannelli

Staff Sergeant Anton Cuevas

Sergeants Shane Conway and John Hilderbrand

Corporals Cpl Pedro Alvarez, Samuel Biles, Nicholas Doshna, Rosell Floresmartinez, Manzonian Hall, Daniel Lagraffe, Joseph Matise Jr,William Slattery, Adam Stone, Joseph Summers Jr, David Wride, and Nathan Zechman

Lance Corporals David Jenkins Jr, Kurt Keneske, Yonkon Lee, Daniel Morton, John Olortegui, and Jesus Tarazona

Privates First Class George Allen II, Daniel Angelone, Steven Brehm, Tony Brooks Jr, Christopher Burgess, Nathan Cadroy, Timothy Carkhuff, Todd Cowan, Jamie Drennen, Timothy Haddock, Nathan Horn, Buddy Jacob, Miguel Jimenez, Derek McQuain, and Evan Owings

Combined Anti-Armor Team

1st Lieutenant Jonathan Frangakis

Sergeant Eric Toms

Corporals Joshua Burgbacher, Christopher Hance, and Patrick Whalen

Lance Corporals Ryan Archambeau, Joshua Flory, Jimmy Hill, Michael Martin, Patrick McKinney, Jonathan Stann, and Gregory Struthers

Private First Class Denny John

Corpsman: Hospital Corpsman Third Class Christopher Taylor

Battalion Aid Station

Lieutenant Matthew Axtman

Petty Officer First Class Kevin Swisher

Petty Officers Third Class David Carmichael, Derek Haberzettl, and Paul Walema Jr

Hospitalman Yuri Inochkin


Cruisebook Pictures



Company Updates

March 2005

As India Company nears the halfway mark in our deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, we have taken the time to take a step back and evaluate our impact on the country of Afghanistan thus far. Since arriving here in November, there have been some noticeable changes in the security of the Konar province. Your Marines and Sailors have been conducting a wide range of operations–capturing known terrorists and anti-government forces, recovering many weapons caches, clearing the roads so international workers can continue to build the infrastructure, and providing support to the local populace in the form of medicine, clothes, tools, and food. I need not say that they have been extremely busy and have all been doing an outstanding job. Our months ahead will prove to be just as productive as we continue to press the attack into the spring and summer months. February has served as our coldest month thus far. Of course, a little snow is not going to stop your Marines from continuing their mission; however, it is quite a change from the warm tropical breezes of Hawaii. The weather has had an impact on some operations, but we continue to adapt to our environment. Not allowing rain to pace us, India Company has moved throughout our area of operations and recovered several caches. Along with the caches, 2d and 1st platoon detained several individuals with ties to terrorist groups.

Those individuals will no longer hinder the progress this country has made. We saw snow for the first time in Asadabad on the 17th of February. With conditions worsening in the later days of the month, 3d platoon set off for an eight-day field operation that followed a very wet four-day operation the week prior.

Also this month, the company conducted a relief-in-place between our 2d and 1st platoons at Camp Blessing. 2d platoon now calls Camp Eggers, Asadabad home after a very successful three months at Camp Blessing. 2d platoon’s outstanding performance in the Nangalam area has caused the most dramatic changes in the province. In an area well known for supporting anti-government activity, the coalition has now gained the support of the local populace. 1st platoon will continue right where 2d left off, and I’m sure they will do great things too. If you have a Marine or Sailor in 1st platoon, don’t be surprised if the frequency of your loved ones calls lessen and their e-mails stop altogether. Camp Blessing has very limited commercial communication capabilities. For those of you with 2d platoon Marines, they should now have the opportunity to get behind a computer on a regular basis and catch up with all that is going on at home. Although there are a few more amenities in Asadabad, the Marines of 2d platoon are sure to miss the smaller, quieter, and more remote spoils of Nangalam.

I must mention again the support we have been receiving from home is incredible! Just yesterday the company received over 200 bags of mail. A lot of it has been stuck in Bagram for the past couple of weeks because of the weather. Please KEEP UP THE SUPPORT! As the company commander, I cannot stress enough the impact on the Marines’ morale when they receive a package or letter from a loved one. Many of the packages have come from support groups and India company alumni from all over the country. To those of you that have taken the time out of your busy days, I cannot thank you enough. As the Marines say, you truly are Great Americans! I only hope the Marines of India Company continue to make you proud as we continue the mission here in Afghanistan.

From the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines of India Company 3/3, Aloha.

May 2005

The deployment will soon be over for the Marines and Sailors of India Company 3/3. Even though there are only a few short months before we are back home, we still have a mission to accomplish here in OEF. The Marines are as focused as ever and continue their extraordinary efforts to accomplish that mission. The change in the security situation here in the Kunar province has been tremendous. Many of the projects planned by the Army’s Provincial Reconstruction Team have been able to commence and be completed unimpeded by the activity of the Anti-Government Forces. It seems that there is a new school, clinic, district house, bridge or well opening up every week. Your Marines hard work, spending days on end living and working among the communities has really paid off. The relationships and trust that has been forged between the Marines and the Afghan communities is tremendous. After all, it is that trust that has proven to be our most effective weapon against the people who want to see the reconstruction effort fail. Our cooperation and training with the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) and National Police (ANP) has come leaps and bounds from where we were in November. Your Marines are playing a huge role in shaping these two forces that will be tasked with defending Afghanistan’s future. Everything we do now involves participation from the ANA and ANP in a joint effort to stop the terrorism against the communities.

Because of this cooperation and constant presence in the areas most frequented by the Anti-Government Forces, many of the terrorists have given up the fight, no longer wishing to go up against the coalition and Afghan forces. We are working hand in hand with the Government of the Kunar Province to continue these efforts and take a new step towards stability as we approach the summer months.

The base here in Asad Abad has now started up a weekly flea market where the local vendors can come and sell goods. The Marines can find many high quality crafts made by the local workers at low, low prices. We try to allow the Marines the opportunity to purchase small souvenirs of their deployment when we can. Of course, our mission comes first and there is not exactly an ATM on every corner. But, hopefully, the Marines will be able to bring back some small trinkets as reminders of their heroic efforts here in Afghanistan

June 2005

The Kunar province has undergone many changes in the 7 months India Company has been on the ground here. In Nagalam, 1stLt Bellman and GySgt Vannelli have turned a small Special Forces advanced camp into a full-blown Forward Operating Base capable of accommodating a reinforced rifle platoon and a company of Afghan Security Force soldiers. They have built several buildings from the ground up improving the operational capability and the quality of life on board the camp. If you can remember early on, phone calls and emails from the Marines of 2d platoon were non-existent. Camp Blessing now has full commercial and military Internet capability, phones, washers and dryers, an outstanding gym facility, chow hall and many other improvements. Quite honestly, living at Camp Blessing has become a rather pleasant experience compared to what it used to be like back in November and December. The Marines of 1st and 2d Platoons who have been residents there should be commended for their hard work aboard the camp. They accomplished all of this without slowing down their operational tempo “outside the wire.” The Pech District, where Camp Blessing is located, was once compared to the “Wild West,” but because of the Marines dedication to the mission, the security in the region has greatly increased. The schools are full, new mosques, medical clinics and district administration buildings are in place and the area is one step closer to freedom.

Throughout the province the Marines and Sailors have touched thousands of Afghan citizens lives. We have provided humanitarian assistance in the form of food, blankets, tools, medical supplies, and many other assistance items. All of the Marines have worked closely with the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army training and conducting joint operations. Their efforts have improved the individual and unit skills of the two forces, making them much more effective and ensuring the security of the people in the province well into the future. Their experiences here will be remembered for years to come, they have truly made history. The Marines will have some great stories to tell of their exploits in Afghanistan so in a few short weeks, sit back and enjoy.


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