War In Afghanistan Not Really Over For U.S.

Marines from Echo Company run off the back of the helicopter transport.

The United States and NATO formally ended their war in Afghanistan on Sunday, December 28th, with a ceremony at their military headquarters in Kabul,  according to the New York Post.

Most of the Marine Corps left Afghanistan months ago, but a small group of Marines stayed behind, continuing the fight in the country, according to The Marine Corps Times.

“Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan exited Helmand Province in October, turning Camp Leatherneck over to local troops and departing for the States. The highly-publicized transition marked an end to the Corps’ major role in Afghanistan. Two months later, U.S. officials declared the end of combat operations in the 13-year-old conflict,” according to the Marine Corps Times.

The Marine Corps Times claims that “an unidentified number of Marines stayed on to help defend Bagram Airfield while remaining coalition troops train and assist Afghan troops and police officers.”

The Marines are part of the Georgian Deployment Program, and arrived with that nation’s 51st Light Infantry Battalion, said Marine Lt. Col. Peter Lang, the team’s officer in charge, in an email describing the rotation.

The Marines are embedded with soldiers from the ex-Soviet country of Georgia.

“In May, the Marines departed for Georgia where they embedded with the light infantry battalion, offering infantry advisers as well as experts in intelligence, communications, logistics, operations and medical aid,” states the Marine Corps Times.

The Marine liaison team was in Georgia until September.  They are reportedly now in Afghanistan.

“We are proud to be partnered with the Georgians,” wrote Lang, “there is a mutual respect and shared understanding that allows us to function as a cohesive team.”

More here

President to Designate Largest Marine Monument in the World

The recently released National Climate Assessment confirms that climate change is causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise.

As part of this Year of Action, President Obama will sign a proclamation to designate the largest marine reserve in the world that is completely off limits to commercial resource extraction including commercial fishing.

The proclamation expands the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, one of the most pristine tropical marine environments in the world, to six times its current size, resulting in 370,000 square nautical miles (490,000 square miles) of protected area around these tropical islands and atolls in the south-central Pacific Ocean.