A second rotation of Marines will arrive in Helmand province, Afghanistan, next year to continue to advise and assist Afghan troops and police, a Corps official confirmed.
Currently, about 300 Marines make up Task Force Southwest, which works with the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps and the 505th Zone National Police. The Marines’ nine-month deployment ends in January.
The next rotation of Marines has a force structure that is similar to the current Task Force Southwest, said Maj. Bradlee Avots, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Central Command. The Marines began pre-deployment training in September at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
About 50 of the Marines going to Afghanistan will be issued Glock 19M pistols as concealed handguns because their jobs require them to be armed at all times, said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, 2nd Marine Division gunner.
Wade said he recommended to senior Marine Corps leadership that the Marines receive the Glock 19M because it is smaller, more compact and easier to fire than the M9 Beretta. The Marines should receive the pistols within the next couple weeks.
“I want them to do as much training as they possibly can,” Wade said. “Given the nature of the requirement, a concealed carry handgun, the training regimen is more demanding than the typical overt carry watchstander.”