22nd MEU Afghanistan Recap: Operation BLADE RUNNER

24 Aug 2004 | Gunnery Sgt. Keith A. Milks

On May 25, 2004, elements of Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 6th Marines conducted a pinscher-style cordon and sweep operation not far from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)'s forward operating base near Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.Early that morning, Charlie Co., BLT 1/6 boarded helicopters from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 (Reinforced) and were dropped off south of a string of villages and compounds in an agriculturally-rich valley. The Marines immediately began pushing through the dwellings looking for weapons and Taliban and anti-coalition militia fighters. Further north, the BLT headquarters element, accompanied by Afghan Militia Force troops led by the governor of Oruzgan province, Jan Mohammed, pushed overland with elements of the battalion's Combined Anti-Armor Team (CAAT). Later in the morning, seven-ton trucks from MEU Service Support Group 22 carried a rifle platoon from Bravo Co. into to the fray.The two-day operation, which eventually saw the two task forces meet in the middle of the valley, netted an impressive yield of small arms, ammunition, ordnance, and anti-tank mines, all of which were destroyed by Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians from the MEU Command Element. Two suspected Taliban fighters were taken into custody.While no resistance was met, there were injuries nonetheless. Early in the evening of May 25, a Toyota Hi-Lux pick-up overloaded with AMF troops careened off a narrow roadway and plummeted down a steep embankment, severely injuring several of the vehicle's occupants.Navy corpsmen and doctors sprang into action, establishing triage and treating injuries that ranged from minor lacerations to broken limbs and concussions. A call for emergency evacuation went out, and CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters from HMM-266 (Rein) swooped in and carried out the injured AMF fighters for further medical treatment.Operation BLADE RUNNER was named after the 1982 movie of the same name starring Harrison Ford. The basis of the movie was a science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick called "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" which tells the story of futuristic police tracking down renegade androids hiding among peaceful civilians.This is the seventh installment in a 11-part series chronicling the 22nd MEU (SOC)'s operations and missions in Afghanistan.For more information on the 22nd MEU (SOC)'s role in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, visit the unit's web site at http://www.22meu.usmc.mil.
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit