The 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines "Jump Platoon," crosses the bridge into Marjah, in Afghanistan's Helmand province, on Feb. 18, 2010. CBS News correspondent Mandy Clark profiled a Marine unit, in which she was embedded in Afghanistan, during a recent operation to rid Marjah of Taliban fighters.
Jump Platoon has one mission: Protect the Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Brian Christmas, seen here talking to locals on Feb. 11, 2010, as he moves in his battle space. Where he goes, they go. But Christmas sees the platoon as more than just his own personal body guards.
"They are a great group of guys, and even though some of them are close to my age, I do feel like they are like my sons," he says.
"It's always interesting about Jump platoons. They always get the orphans from each company so you get a rag-tag band, but when they come together, they are quite an impressive group," says the chief warrant officer, Marine Gunner Joshua Smith. Smith is the platoon's weapons expert, and his skills have paid off.
On Gunner Smith's advice, the Marines did not enter the house. Instead, they set off a small charge just inside the door. The charge triggered the bombs inside the rigged house, leaving only a pile of rubble where it once stood.
Platoon leader Sgt. Derr spesks on the radio on Feb. 10, 2010.
"We've taken fire from machine guns, RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), we've been mortared on the move, we've hit a number of IEDs," recounts Derr. "We pretty much have encountered every possible scenario."
Bower shows off his scar. He says the injury has made him more keenly aware of the dangers he and other U.S. troops face on the front line. "I signed up to do this job and I love it, but don't get me wrong, I don't want to die."