Marine Locates Enemy Fighters

Marine Locates Enemy Fighters

By Dialogo
August 24, 2011

As a torrent of bullets whizzed past their heads, the Marines in Observation Post 8 quickly dropped to the ground, narrowly avoiding what could have been their deaths. As they lifted themselves off of sandbags covering the bottom of the small bunker, they looked up to see Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Christopher Sharp smiling down at them.

“What are you ducking for?” Sharp asked with a chuckle. “They’re not going to hit you. They’re too far away.”

Sharp quickly turned around in his seat, a makeshift wooden bench situated toward the front of the bunker, and raised a pair of binoculars to his eyes. The small-arms fire that caused the Marines behind him to fall prone continued to buzz past their heads. The Marines were at the post providing support for Operation Black Sand, a mission designed to destroy a bazaar being used by insurgents to manufacture and distribute improvised explosive devices.

Sharp, a native of Mesa, Ariz., is the chief for Supporting Arms Liaison Team Delta, 1st Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, at this combat outpost on the western side of the Helmand River, across from Sangin and on the southern tip of the Musa Qalah district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

With five combat deployments under his belt, Sharp is no stranger to being shot at. As a joint terminal attack controller in a unit that specializes in coordinating close air support for ground forces, Sharp has had his share of close calls.

“As a Marine I’m taught that once you take ground, you don’t give it back, so I’m not going to duck down,” Sharp said. “I’m going to try to [locate] where the enemy is so that I can fire back or direct the fire back on to it.”