Marines shift focus as drawdown hits milestone

story by: Dan Lamothe
photo courtesy of: Lance Cpl. Jason Morrison, USMC
The Marine Corps has completed the next significant phase of its force drawdown in Afghanistan, potentially setting the stage for 2013 to be the last year with a sizeable Marine involvement in Helmand province.
The Corps has gradually pulled Marines from the battlefield throughout the summer, cutting a force that numbered about 17,000 in the spring to less than 10,000. There will be elements of just one Marine infantry battalion — 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, out of Twentynine Palms, Calif. — in northern Helmand this winter. Elements of an additional unit — currently 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. — will provide Afghan forces with assistance in southern Helmand.
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