A Marine serving with a small adviser task force in Helmand, Afghanistan has returned to full duty after being shot in the head while operating at a remote outpost in Sangin.
The incident occurred while the Marine was embedded with the 2nd Brigade of the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps at Forward Operating Base Nolay in Sangin District, according to Lt. Kathleen Kochert, a spokeswoman for Task Force Southwest.
The New York Times reported that the bullet “glanced off the Marine’s helmet.”
The Marine has been submitted for a Purple Heart, Kochert said.
If awarded, it would be the first Purple Heart for the nearly 300 Marine adviser team known as Task Force Southwest that is now in its second iteration since returning to the volatile Helmand Province from a brief hiatus in 2014.
According to Kochert, no other Marines have been submitted for a Purple Heart since the second rotation touched down in Afghanistan in mid-January.
And after over a year of operations by two tours of Task Force Southwest Marines, none of the Marines have been submitted for a Combat Action Ribbon, including the Marine shot in the head in Sangin.
According to the last update to the Combat Action Ribbon, or CAR eligibility criteria a Purple Heart does not mean a Marine automatically rates a CAR.
A small Marine task force operating out of Helmand saw no combat action during its deployment.
The Marines recently carried out an Expeditionary Advisory Package in Sangin. The Marines spent over two weeks in the region advising partner forces.
“EAPs are valuable missions that allow Marine advisers to embed at the lowest level to assist Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in the planning and execution of their operations,” Kochert said.
Sangin is a hallowed battleground for Marines. During the height of America’s participation in the Afghan conflict dozens of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment or “Darkhorse” Marines were killed while operating in the volatile area.