Deployed AFN Airman serves with Marines

Staff Sgt. Marcus McDonald
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

***image1***BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – While in the valleys of northern Afghanistan covering the efforts of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, Whiskey Co., 2nd Platoon as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, a Kaiserslautern Airman became part of the action himself.

Airman 1st Class Peter Mellon, a broadcast producer for Bagram’s American Forces Network Afghanistan, and the group of Marines experienced an attack from enemy aggressors Nov. 16.

“Our mission was to join members of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police on a convoy through the Waterport Valley to find people who had anything they weren’t supposed to have,” said Airman Mellon, a native of Farmington Hills, Mich.

“We were getting reports almost nightly that something was going to happen to hinder our mission,” Airman Mellon said. “We just didn’t know when.”

Preparing for whatever came their way proved successful.
“One night, after everyone – except for those on watch – had gone to sleep, we heard a loud noise and gunshots,” the Airman explained. “Each of us immediately threw on our body armor and helmet, grabbed ours M-16s and returned fire.”

From start to finish, the firefight lasted about two minutes.
“It seems like a lot longer when you’re actually there,” Airman Mellon said. “I was amazed that I was able to think quickly and clearly through it all. You think that the first time you go through something like this that you’ll be frightened and that you wouldn’t know what to do. That wasn’t the case.”

Within a moment’s notice, the convoy transitioned from normal operations to the heat of battle.

“Due to previous instruction, each of us knew where we were supposed to be and what we were supposed to do in every situation,” Airman Mellon said, “Although it was a well-coordinated enemy attack, we did everything right, none of our guys were hurt, and we were able to continue our mission successfully.”