Photo Information

Seaman James L. Louck, a Riverside, Calif., native and a corpsman with Echo Company, tries to keep warm while on midnight radio watch. The Marines and sailors with Echo Company maintain multiple security responsibilities when bedded down and not actively seeking the enemy. There is always someone awake and on duty to maintain radio communications or security for the platoons of the company, regardless of the time of day or location.::r::::n::::r::::n::::r::::n::

Photo by Sgt. Earnest J. Barnes

‘Magnificent Bastards’ fill in between scenes: Troops decompress during Operation Double Check

1 Feb 2012 | Sgt. Earnest J. Barnes

When the “Magnificent Bastards” with Echo Company are not actively engaged in seeking out and destroying the enemy, they do a number of things to take their minds off of the war and help their Afghan counterparts. Marines and sailors with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, are partnered with Afghan National Security Forces to bring the fight to the enemy, but they also take time to decompress during ongoing operations.

For the modern warrior, who has the most advanced war-fighting technology at his fingertips, it’s hard for some to imagine a life without the World Wide Web, running water or, in some instances, even electricity. The Marines with Echo Company have grown accustomed to a simpler way of life while conducting operations through mud-hut villages in northern Helmand province.

The Marines with Echo Company find a variety of ways to adapt to their surroundings, overcome boredom, and entertain themselves to fill down time. Playing cards, miniature board games, and trading off items from their Meals-Ready-to-Eat to create combat recipes are a few things the troops do to fill their time when they are not patrolling through the Musa Qal’eh district.

Combat is a stressful working environment for any service member, but the Bastards take a very simplistic approach to taking their minds off of the realities of war, providing the physical and mental recuperation needed to maintain a combat mindset and operations.

“You have a full day everyday, but you try to maintain your levelheadedness by sitting down and reading a book,” explained Staff Sgt. Peter S. Ramos, a Patterson, N.J., native and a platoon sergeant with Echo Company.

Editor’s note: Second Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 6 in 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces and the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.