Monday, April 19, 2010

40 Commando Royal Marines take over authority of Sangin from 3rd Battalion The Rifles

Lt Col Nick Kitson, 3 Rifles (left) wishes Lt Col Paul James well for the next 6 months during the short ceremony.

At 14:00 local time yesterday afternoon, 3rd Battalion The Rifles officially transferred responsibility and command of the Sangin area of operations to 40 Commando Royal Marines.

Over the last few weeks, Royal Marine Commandos and attached Ranks have been arriving in Forward Operating Base (FOB) Jackson, in the Sangin region of Helmand province. They have been receiving comprehensive handovers from their counterparts in the 3 RIFLES.

The Area of Operations was formally handed by the 3 RIFLES Commanding Officer, Lt Col Nick Kitson, to Lt Col Paul James, Commanding Officer of 40 Commando Royal Marines.

Lt Col James said: “It’s great to be here. It’s an honor to take up the reins and having the opportunity to help the Afghans improve the lives of their people in Sangin and Kajaki.”

The 3 RIFLES flag is lowered during the handover to 40Cdo RM

The Commandos will be based here and in the other associated FOBs and Patrol Bases (PBs) for the next 6 months where they will continue to provide security to the region, mentor the Afghan National Police, partner the Afghan National Army and enable the continuation of reconstruction projects in the area.

Just prior to 3 RIFLES departing to leave Sangin they, together with their Afghanistan partners, they jointly hosted a ‘thank you and farewell’ Shura. The Shura involved key members of the local community and was also used to welcome members from 40 Commando Royal Marines to Sangin. The Shura incorporated a meal and much reciting of achievements and praise for the progress that 3 Rifles have made during their six month tour in the north eastern corner of Helmand Province.

The Commandos have already made a number of minor cultural changes around the FOBs and PBs to put their Royal Marine stamp on them. Army phrases have been replaced with Royal Navy terms - toilets have been renamed ‘heads’; the ‘cookhouse’ has become the ‘galley’; ‘brews’ have become ‘wets’ and ‘Scoff’ (meals) has become ‘Scran’.

This has all caused much amusement with the Afghan Partners from the Police and Army, together with locally employed nationals and interpreters who all live within the Bases and work with the Commandos every day.

For around a third of the Commandos, this is their second, third or even fourth deployment to the Sangin area and these Marines all commented on the significant changes that had taken place since they were last in the area.

The vibrant bazaar, which is a matter of a few hundred metres from the ISAF Operating Base, is one of the most significant signs of progress achieved by the 3 RIFLES Battle Group throughout their tour. The locals and children are becoming increasingly friendly and comfortable with the present of ISAF troops and their Afghan partners. The children are even starting to talk and play with the troops. This is seen by many as real and tangible improvements to the quality of the local Afghan’s way of life.

After a hard six month tour 3 RIFLES hand over the Sangin region to the Royal Marine Battle Group in a better state then when they took over control in September 2009. 40 Commando now have an excellent foundation on which to build and will continue to provide security to the region, and will show the local people that the Government is the best choice for them, and that the insurgency has nothing to offer them but fear and oppression.


  1. Well done all. You've done, and continue to do, a truly amazing job!

  2. Good luck to 40 Commandos - and well done to 3 Rifles and their attached personnel - I won't forget your fallen (may they R.I.P) may God Bless you All - Proud of You x

  3. Well done to 3 Rifles...and stay safe Bootnecks

  4. Good luck out there, we miss you x

  5. 40 CDO, your the best, come home safe x

  6. Good luck to my husband in 40 cdo who recently arrived out there, may you all return safely.

  7. Stay safe 40 Commando,my son is with you - stay safe all of you,you are all in my thoughts every day every hour. Will send goodie boxes xx

  8. Stand easy Royal! R I P. Thoughts are with your family and friends and your comrades.

  9. Our thoughts are with all of 40 Cdo today. He'll stay with you forever albeit in spirit.
    R.I.P. Royal.

  10. Marines, 40 commando no doubt will do their duty, be safe, my son is out with you,so are my family thoughts are with you all. we are so proud and await your safe return home.

  11. Wishing you all a safe returnx

  12. My condolences for the loss of one of your number recently, however i think the use of horseback mounted patrols with 90 degree kevlar mounted stirrup deflector plates could seriously reduce the amount of human casualties being caused by ieds to foot soldiers , horses are also food and are replaceable.Why not give it a try you can also mount a mine detector to the frontlower neck of the beast.