Marine Unit Suffers Bloody Week in Afghanistan

Progress in Afghanistan comes at great cost for one battalion.

ByABC News
October 21, 2010, 4:27 PM

Oct. 21, 2010— -- Officials say they are seeing progress in Afghanistan, but it has come at a cost for one Marine unit.

Ten families who saw their sons and husbands off from Camp Pendleton less than a month ago already have gotten word they will not return.

In the last week, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines has lost 10 Marines in Helmand province's Sangin district.

The oldest was 26, and the youngest, 19 years old.

Sangin in Helmand province is one of the most perilous places in Afghanistan.

It's where a third of all British military deaths have occurred. The British pulled out of the area only a few weeks ago, leaving the violent patch of land to newly arrived Marines.

Lance Corporal Alec Catherwood, 19, was shot to death on a foot patrol. Lance Cpl. Phillipe Vinnedge, also 19, died in a massive roadside bomb blast in the same vehicle as Victor Dew, 20, Joseph Rodewald, 21, and Justin Cain, 22.

Lance Cpl. Irvin Ceniceros, 21, was killed while on patrol, as was John Sparks, 23, James Boelk, 24, squad leader Ian Tawney, 25, and the oldest in the group, Joseph Lopez, 26.

Only one in the group, Tawney, had been in a war zone before, in Iraq. For the rest of these young men it was the very first time.

U.S. military leaders say they have Taliban fighters on the run, forced out of some areas they have controlled for so long.