A little more than three years ago Rob Rain, of the Class of 2007, was conducting honor hearings as president as Washington and Lee’s Executive Committee. Today he is leading weekly shuras with Afghan elders as part of his deployment in the Helmand Province.
First Lt. Rain is a platoon commander with the 81 Millimeter Mortars Platoon, attached to Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2. He began his deployment in early September and has been focused on counter insurgency, including the establishment of the weekly meetings, or shuras, that allow members of the local community to express their concerns.
Rob’s work was featured in a recent story distributed by the Marine’s public affairs division. Rob described the weekly consultations as allowing the Marines “to let people know we’re legitimately doing our best to assist them while providing them security, and trying to give them a better life.” He added that these conversations have led to the discovery of many IEDs (improvised explosive devices).
The work is dangerous. One member of Rain’s platoon was severely wounded in an IED blast in early October.
“The Marines out here are performing extremely well,” said Rob. “Everyone has made a huge effort to interact with the people. Every patrol that goes out tries to sit down and have chai with someone, just to sit down, drink tea and really talk to them.”
You can see some photographs from Kunder Village where Rob’s platoon is currently conducting its mission on the website One-Eight Basetrack, which features the work of several freelance journalists and photographers. Rob is featured on the second and fourth images on the page.