By Gretel C. Kovach
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at midnight
SANGIN, Afghanistan — Walking around Forward Operating Base Jackson, one is reminded now and then of the many British troops who served here over the years, before U.S. Marines took over this fall. A sign on a whitewashed wall points to “Ulster Way.” The stairwell of a half-constructed mansion dubbed the “haunted house” is painted with the battle shield of a long-gone unit that lived there. And metal shipping containers connected to local well water offer the first real “WC” (or water closet, as they call bathrooms in Great Britain) that we’ve seen on this trip to Helmand province military installations. I don’t know who built it, maybe the British, maybe the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines from Twentynine Palms who served here during the handover, but Camp Pendleton troops also fell in on a platform erected over the creek that rushes through the base. U.S. infantrymen and the Afghan police they mentor stand there shoulder to shoulder over the rapids, dipping their lines and comparing the daily catch. “We’re partnering!” one Marine quipped.
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