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5th ANGLICO returns home

US Marine Corps News

6/22/2012 By Lance Cpl. Matthew Manning, Marine Corps Bases Japan

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan — More than 70 Marines with 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company returned to Camp Hansen from Afghanistan June 11.

During their seven-month deployment, Marines with 5th ANGLICO, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF, worked with coalition forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“We coordinated supporting arms and forward air control operations for the coalition in the Helmand province,” said Sgt. Maj. Kevin M. Conboy, sergeant major of 5th ANGLICO. “Those we supported included United Kingdom Forces, the Danish Battle Group, the Georgian military and the 215th Afghan National Army Brigade.”

While deployed, Marines with 5th ANGLICO were divided into teams to maximize their combat effectiveness, according to Sgt. Adrian T. Richards, a fire control team chief with the company.

“Our fire control team consisted of seven Marines, and typically we sent two Marines on each patrol,” said Richards. “The purpose of these two Marines was to call for close-air support when it was needed.”

Richards’ team primarily supported soldiers from the Republic of Georgia.

“Coordination with the Georgians was tough at first because of the language barrier, but we had a three-week training period with them before we deployed, so we were able to become familiar with them and how they operate,” said Richards.

The Marines were also able to interact with the Afghan people during their deployment.

“When we arrived it was wintertime, so we handed out a lot of coats and shoes to those in need,” said Richards. “The Afghan children were always asking for materials to write with, so we would give them pens and paper.

“We wanted them to know we were there to help and not to cause harm.”

The Marines were welcomed home with smiling faces for a job well done.

“This felt like the longest (deployment) ever,” said Kathleen A. Bonecutter, wife of Capt. Chad E. Bonecutter, a team leader for a supporting arms liaison team with 5th ANGLICO. “I couldn’t be more excited to see him than I am now.”

While her husband has been on two previous deployments, this one was different for the Bonecutters due to the birth of their second son.

“Barrett was born about six weeks after they deployed,” said Kathleen. “There were moments when he was gone when things were a little overwhelming, but we had a good support system set up. It was like being thrown in the deep end of a pool; you have to learn how to swim quickly.”

Though mission accomplishment is often heralded as the hallmark of a successful operation, Marines at every level feel the deep pain of losing a fellow comrade.

“This was an extremely successful deployment for both our unit and the forces we supported,” said Conboy. “The losses we incurred will be missed greatly, but we will continue to strive on in their memory.”

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