"This is a date with destiny," said Brigadier Gen. Larry Nicholson. "For the rest of your careers, you will be known as Marjah Marines."
Marjah is the last Taliban stronghold in the area. Reports from inside the city suggest that hundreds of hard-core fighters are bracing for a fight.
But the Marines are not trying to hide. In fact, they are doing everything they can to let the people of Marjah know they're coming.
CBS News correspondent Mandy Clark is with the Marine company that is closest to Marjah. They are talking to local leaders about their coming operation.
Unlike previous military offensives here, coalition forces are telegraphing their punch, dropping thousands of pamphlets warning civilians to distance themselves from Taliban fighters. Many families have already left the city to avoid being caught in the crossfire.
In the meantime, Marines, too, are digging in for a fight. They hope that by the time they go into Marjah, the Taliban will have no civilians left to hide behind, forcing them to take U.S. and Afghan troops head on.