Reservist shares Afghan battlefield stories with Rotary

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comJuly 4, 2013 

A local Marine reservist recounted his time in Afghanistan to members of the Los Banos Rotary Club on Tuesday.

Marine reservist Michael Creighton, 28, told the club about his eight months of service from September 2010 to April 2011.

"It was one hell of an experience. We had 200 wounded. My battalion was the hardest hit unit in the war so far. We lost 25 guys and they just added a few more. I think the number is up to 32," he said. "It's not easy to see your friends get taken away on a bird (aircraft), but it does make you think about what you're fighting for."

Creighton said the first four months were the most difficult due to firefights.

"You could time it too. It was pretty predictable when they wanted to attack us: in the morning after prayer and in the afternoon after their prayer," he said.

Creighton said he was stationed near a bazaar. He said he could chart his troop's progress in the increase in shops as the months passed.

Creighton said his job was to train the Afghans to become police.

"None of us had any experience with it, but we had some actual Marine Corp police that were with us," he said. "Our job was strictly to teach these guys how to be professional police. When we first got there, if someone didn't do something they said they'd take a rifle and smack them over the head with it. It was brutal."

Creighton was asked about Afghans being trained by Americans and then turning on them.

"I feel I was successful. I never got any of my guys hurt or killed and I never had any of their guys hurt or killed," he said.

Creighton comes from a family with a tradition of serving in the military. He said he believes that the war in Afghanistan would have ended years ago if the media were not imbedded with troops. He said for each scandal reporters uncover, it takes attention and resources away from fighting the war.

He also said he believes the United States will keep a presence in Afghanistan long after the war.

"The base they were putting in, when I got there they were putting in sidewalks. When I left they had the streets paved. It was at least as big as Los Banos. It had its own bus route," Creighton said. "They spent all that money. To just leave would be more than saying we lost the war. For anyone who thinks that we're going to leave Afghanistan any time soon, they're living in their own special world."

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