What is known as Cowboy Road to Marines in southern Afghanistan is also known as a road notorious for IEDs. Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion set out to eradicate that problem by building two observation posts specifically between the most hit areas on the road, Dec. 16.

“We’ve been hit a lot on these roads,” said Lance Cpl. Sherwin O. Charles, a motor transport operator, for Alpha Company, 2nd CEB. “With these posts, well be able to monitor the traffic, and in turn make it safer for Marines.”

Through first-hand experience, 1st Lt. Chase B. Wheeler, platoon commander, for Alpha Company, 2nd CEB. Knew all to well, the threat his Marines were helping exterminate.

“There have been a lot of IEDs planted here,” said Wheeler. “I’ve been on this road before with 1st CEB. The purpose of putting these observation posts up is to always have visibility on the road, so that we can own the road and not need route clearance. Were going to do whatever it takes to own the road. I feel confident and glad this is happening. It needs to happen.”

Marines were not the only ones pleased with the mission on cowboy.

The increased Marine presence in the area as well received by the local Afghan people, said Mirwais Ahmadi, an interpreter for 2nd battalion, 2nd Marines.

“Seven months ago, the Taliban had a school teaching children. Now the children are going to mosque,” said Ahmadi a translator for 2/2. “The people say the security the Marines bring allows the children to go to school with no problems.”

Ahmadi explained the Afghans anguish over the Taliban’s activity in the area.

“An IED blew up on four civilians on a tractor and killed them. Right now all the people hate the Taliban. If they have the ability they help the Marines, they do. When we came, they gave us bread and chai (tea). The people are happy about us here,” said Ahmadi.

During the operation, members of the Afghan National Army assisted in providing security. Ahmadi translated their thoughts on the mission.

“It’s good that these places are built so that they can’t build IEDs,” said Masood, a soldier, for the Afghan Army. “The people are happy too, because it means the people are going to be safe too.”

For two days the Marines worked hard, chopping down shrub and trees, building protective barriers and building roofs and sleeping areas for the posts. When their work was done, Marines from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines stepped in ready to man the post.

“Before we set up this post, we would take the back roads,” said Lance Cpl. Ethan E. Coleman, a mortarman for 2/2. “Now that we’ve taken this road, it’s going to allow us more movement for our supplies. They didn’t see us moving here freely before, but now they do. Our progress builds the Afghans confidence. When we asked the locals what they thought, they said, it was a good idea and they were happy.