Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Last Commando Marines head home

The last commando group of Royal Marines to serve in Afghanistan is heading back to the UK.

After more than a decade of operational deployments in the war-torn country, troops from 40 Commando Royal Marines (40 Cdo) lowered the Royal Navy's white ensign above their main operating base, MOB Price, before flying out.

Servicemen from from 40 Cdo were the first British troops to deploy to the country in 2001, securing Bagram airfield and going on to patrol the streets of Kabul.

Since then the Marines have served in successive deployments in Sangin, Nahr-e Saraj and Musa Qala in Helmand Province.

The symbolic lowering of the ensign at MOB Price on Saturday in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand was the last time the flag will fly in the region.

The MoD said the equivalent of more than 14,000 Marines have served in Afghanistan across 12 deployments from the 7,200-strong Royal Marine Corps, while many others have been attached to other units. The Royal Marines have been awarded nearly 200 honours for acts of bravery and distinguished service in Afghanistan, including a George Cross, seven Distinguished Service Orders and ten awards of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, including one posthumously.

The commando group - who nicknamed MOB Price "HMS Price" - have now handed over to 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

During their deployments they helped develop the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan police units in the area to take on responsibility for security.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "The courage of the Royal Marines, and indeed all of our armed forces who have served in Afghanistan over the past decade, has been truly outstanding.

"Their commitment has made sure that transition of security to Afghan control is deliverable by the time we end our combat operations in December 2014."

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