Camp Leatherneck

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Camp Leatherneck
Afghan National Army emblem.svg
Gereshk District in Afghanistan
Camp Leatherneck sign 01.jpg
Original Camp Leatherneck sign at entrance
Camp Leatherneck is located in Afghanistan
Camp Leatherneck
Camp Leatherneck
Shown within Afghanistan
Coordinates31°51′50″N 064°12′29″E / 31.86389°N 64.20806°E / 31.86389; 64.20806Coordinates: 31°51′50″N 064°12′29″E / 31.86389°N 64.20806°E / 31.86389; 64.20806
Site information
Owner Afghanistan
OperatorAfghan Ministry of Defense
United States Armed Forces
Site history
Built2008 (2008)
In use2008 – present
Battles/warsOperation Strike of the Sword

Camp Leatherneck was a 1,600 acre United States Marine Corps base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.[1][2] The site was mostly in Washir District and was conjoined with Camp Bastion, which was the main British military base in Afghanistan and Camp Shorabak which initially was the main Afghan section however the three sites were joined together under the name of 'Camp Shorabak' in 2014.

Control of the site was transferred from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to the Afghan Armed Forces on 26 October 2014.[3]


Camp Leatherneck was master-planned by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Europe District FEST-A Team from Wiesbaden, Germany in October/November 2008.[4] Upon arrival to Kandahar, the team was tasked by the Theater Engineer of U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) to find a suitable location in Helmand Province for 2K-15K troops. The primary purpose for the base was to house troops for a majority of an estimated 26,000 additional U.S. troops being deployed to Afghanistan.[5] Throughout all of southern Afghanistan, bases were all at or above capacity leading to the paramount need for a large centrally located base for the surge. The site was chosen primarily to take advantage of the adjacent British Airfield on Camp Bastion and to provide much needed protection to the primary east-west corridor of Highway 1 in Helmand Province.

The 25th Naval Construction Regiment (25th NCR) was the primary construction unit with construction oversight and the command element that the FEST Design team was later attached during the initial stages of construction. The units responsible for the overall construction work in 2008 under the 25th NCR was the Naval Mobile Construction Battalions Seven, Five, and Seventy-Four.[6][7][8] Camp Leatherneck was built in a modular fashion to maximize the efficiency of construction locations to provide housing and work space as surge forces flowed into theater. The base layout was designed in modular 'blocks', so the base could have forces on the ground as construction continued in adjacent compartments. All aspects of the design were focused on the speed for construction and with the understanding that the number of troops was unknown. Initially dubbed Tombstone II as an expansion of a smaller Special Forces Camp adjacent to the ANA Shorabak base, it was eventually renamed Camp Leatherneck once it was formerly announced that I Marine Expeditionary Force would move to southern Afghanistan and determined the main force occupying the base in 2009. The authorization to move forces was not given until after new Commander-in-Chief Inauguration of President Obama in early 2009.[9]

A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter flies over a Seabee project site in January 2011

From Design to Initial Occupancy of Forces was only four months with a late-November 2008 ground-breaking. Although construction was continued by the Marines for several years to improve facilities, the overall basecamp was functional and operational in less than six months for over 12,000 troops and an equal number of civilian contractors prior to their arrival.[10] Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade arrived in March 2009[9] to establish Command and Control of Camp Leatherneck and prepare for the arrival of I Marine Expeditionary Force to assume the role as the Regional Command Southwest who ultimately replaced the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in March 2010.[11]

National Geographic Explorer profiled the base in a 2010 episode.

On 16 May 2010, the Supply Management Unit lot had a fire that burned for over 8 hours, causing extensive damage. Marine Wing Support Squadron 274's CFR (Crash Fire Rescue), Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FIVE, and British firefighters from Camp Bastion were responsible for extinguishing the blaze. [12] Throughout most of the firefighting effort, Camp Leatherneck was also hit with one of their most intense sandstorms to date.

In 2011, security responsibilities for Camp Leatherneck and the surrounding area were assumed by Task Force Belleau Wood, commanded by US Marine Colonel Michael Sweeney.[13]

In 2012, the adjacent Camp Bastion was attacked by Taliban forces, killing two Americans and significantly damaging American aircraft.

In 2013, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko, stated that $34 million had been spent on a 64,000-square-foot facility that "presumably will never be used".[14]

On 26 October 2014, U.S. Marines and British combat troops officially marked the end of their operations in Afghanistan, transferring Camps Leatherneck and Bastion to Afghan control. As national anthems from the three countries played, service members from all three countries stood at attention. The Marine flags were ceremoniously furled and cased, in recognition of the end of mission.[15]

Environmental issues[edit]

When the Camp was turned over to Afghan control in 2014, 420,000 bottles of water, "which if lined up end to end would stretch for more than 50 miles" were left behind.[16] About ten thousand MREs (meals, ready-to-eat) were incinerated "that might have been used to feed Afghan troops, but were nearing their expiration date".

More than 7,500 computers were destroyed or removed, the television sets remained.[16]


United States Marine Corps

United States Navy

United States Army

• 849th Quartermaster Company (January - December 2010)

Aviation units


  • Marine Aircraft Wing = MAW
  • Marine Aircraft Group = MAG
  • Marine Attack Squadron = VMA
  • Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron = HMLA
  • Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron = HMH
  • Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron = VMM
  • Marine Wing Support Squadron = MWSS
  • Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron = MALS


See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. ^ "Google News & images". 7 May 2009. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  2. ^ Andrew Grey (7 May 2009). "Reuters News". Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  3. ^ "UK ends Afghan combat operations". BBC. 26 October 2014. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  4. ^ "TFB Mar 2009.indd" (PDF). 2 (3). Afghanistan Engineer District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. March 2009. p. 15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2013.
  5. ^ "DoD Announces Iraq Deployments of Additional Major Units". Salem-News.Com. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  6. ^ Navy News Service - Eye on the Fleet[dead link]
  7. ^ Navy News Service - Eye on the Fleet[dead link]
  8. ^ Navy News Service - Eye on the Fleet
  9. ^ a b "President Orders 12,000 Soldiers, Marines to Afghanistan". 17 February 2009. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Archived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Military dumps $34M into Afghanistan HQ that US forces won't use". Fox News. 10 July 2013. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ a b Tim Craig (11 November 2014). "Marine pullout offers preview of what U.S. leaves behind for Afghan troops". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 18 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  17. ^ AirForces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Ltd. July 2014. p. 25.
  18. ^ "Marine Wing Support Squadron 372 transfers authority to MWSS-274 as last wing support unit in Afghanistan". DVIDS. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.

External links[edit]