Marine sniper team destroys enemy platoon in Afghanistan
Task and Purpose:
On May 21, 2011, Sgt. Nathan Hervey, a scout sniper section leader with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was deployed to northern Musa Qala, in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Hervey and his Marines were tasked with surveillance operations in the volatile district, when they became embattled in a heated firefight with insurgent forces transporting weapons that were to be used against a patrol base nearby.Hervey was awarded a Bronze Star of V for his action. Determination and good tactics combined to foil the enemy attack.
Hervey’s sniper section was providing overwatch for a squad of Marines when he spotted the insurgents setting up an ambush, according to Marine Corps Times. Ordering his men to engage with sniper and machine-gun fire, the Marines began picking the enemy force apart.
As the gunbattle broke out, enemy reinforcements, armed with heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades arrived and brought their weapons to bear against the Marine patrol Hervey and his snipers were defending.
With the other Marine position beginning to deteriorate, Hervey moved his snipers north, personally sweeping for explosive devices as he searched for a better position from which to attack.
Bolstered with reinforcements, the insurgents began lobbing automatic grenade launcher rounds at them, and continued their heavy attack on the nearby Marines, who had been cut off.
“With the insurgents now in platoon strength, the sniper section began prosecuting multiple targets despite intense enemy fire in order to protect an isolated and exposed adjacent unit that had struck an improvised explosive device,” Hervey’s award citation reads.
Hervey began directing air strikes and indirect fire on the enemy position, and the subsequent barrage of ordnance destroyed the enemy’s heavy weapons, forcing them to flee.
The insurgent fighters routed, the Marines withdrew, but this was just one patrol and one engagement on a seven-month tour to a dangerous and deadly region.