40 Commando Royal Marines have taken comman of a pivotal base in one of the bloodiest parts of Helmand Province in Afghanistan
The Taunton-based Marines took over command Of Combined Force Nahr-e-Saraj (North) onm September 21 from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.
Nahr-e-Saraj is a large area within central Helmand through which the strategically and politically important Highway One runs and where the second largest city of Gereshk, the economic hub of the Province is situated.
It is one of the most hostile operating environments in Afghanistan.
Throughout Operation HERRICK 16 the Grenadier Guards say they have had immense success in the area making it possible for 40 Commando Royal Marines to take over at a point where the standard of the Afghan National Security Forces has never been better.
The confidence in GIRoA ((Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) establishments is high and the economy within Geresk is booming.
40 Commando Royal Marines will now look to continue this progress and will, in due course, become a Transition Support Unit (TSU).
This will see the Commando becoming the supporting force in an area where the ANSF are ready and able to take the lead.
The Flag Change ceremony was held at MOB PRICE - the main British and Danish base in the area - and was attended by the Headquarters staff from 40 Commando Royal Marines and Danish Team 14.
Throughout Op HERRICK 17, 40 Commando Royal Marines will be working closely with their Danish counterparts who continue to provide an invaluable contribution to both the Headquarters and the force.
Upon handing over Command Lieutenant Colonel Bowder, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards said: "I could not be more pleased to be handing over this important mission to such a palpably capable unit. I have been hugely impressed by what I have seen of the 40 Commando Team during the past weeks, and I am confident that they will do a brilliant job consolidating the gains of the last 8 months and driving forward the transition process.”
Upon assuming Command Lieutenant Colonel Matt Jackson Royal Marines, Commanding Officer 40 Commando Royal Marines said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards for all the hard work that has gone in to making Gereshk and Nahr-e-Saraj a better place for the Afghan people to live and enabling the ANSF to thrive.
"Due to their hard work the ANSF have taken on more of the security tasks as part of transition and we are able to take on a more supporting role.
"I would also like to acknowledge the sacrifice that the Grenadier Guards have made and express my sincere condolences to the Battalion and the friends and family of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice; their bravery and devotion will never be forgotten.
"40 Commando has been set for success and we understand the responsibility we have. The prospect of the ANSF taking the lead for security in more areas displays the tremendous progress that has been made and I am proud to be able to support them in this.”