He Was A Terp For Recon Marines In Helmand. Now He’s Headed To The School Of Infantry

Joining the Military
Pvt. Mohammad Nadir holds a photo of himself when he was a poolee, now he's a Marine.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jessica Quezada

For three years, Mohammad Nadir served alongside infantry and reconnaissance Marines, police advisers, and coalition forces in volatile districts like Kajaki, Lashkar Gah, and Sangin in Helmand province, Afghanistan. As an interpreter for U.S. service members at the height of the war in Afghanistan, he considered himself the “ears and eyes of ISAF.”


Now, he’s a Marine, and he’s headed to the school of infantry to become a grunt. But it was a long road to get there, growing up in a war-torn country that few people are ever allowed to leave.

It was the strong presence of U.S. military during his childhood that inspired Nadir’s dream to become a Marine.

“My mom would tell me stories about the military when I was younger, my father was a cop with the Afghan police . . . and many people welcomed the Americans, even during times of strife,” Nadir said in an interview released by the Marine Corps.  

Nadir poses with a Marine police mentor team in Afghanistan while he was serving as an interpreter.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jessica Quezada

After he graduated high school in Kabul, Nadir got word that private companies were hiring Afghan locals to work as linguists.

“This was my chance to be around the military,” he said.

He left for Sangin in October 2011, and for the next several years served as an interpreter for Marines in Helmand under I and II Marine Expeditionary Forces, 1st and 3rd Reconnaissance Battalions, and alongside Marine advisers attached to an Afghan National Civil Order Police team, Marine Sgt. Jessica Quezada told Task & Purpose.

Related: She Was Born In A Russian Prison And Became A US Marine. The Infantry Is Next »

“I told my family it was a nice job and would be safe, but they didn’t know it was nothing like that,” Nadir said of Helmand. “It was the worst place.”

But, it was under fire that Nadir truly came alive.

“When I saw the Marines fighting I knew I wanted to do that,” Nadir said. “They are the brute force for a military and I respect them a lot for what I saw those Marines do in Afghanistan.”

Nadir was lucky to get a Special Immigrant Visa for his work as an interpreter, and he arrived in the United States on Nov. 10, 2014, the Marine Corps’ birthday.

Three years later, he’s a Marine, and the infantry is next. Nadir enlisted in February and graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, on May 26, with orders to Camp Pendleton San Diego’s School of Infantry West.

“I told my family I was going to come to America and become a Marine, so I did,” Nadir said.

An Austrian Jagdkommando K9 unit conducts training (Austrian Armed Forces photo)

An Austrian soldier was apparently killed by two military working dogs that he was charged with feeding, the Austrian Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday.

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Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario has seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya, and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.

Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.

The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.

Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead

"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."

Opinion

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.

They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.

As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.

But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.

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Photo: ABC News/screenshot

Federal court judge Reggie Walton in Washington D.C. has ruled Hoda Muthana, a young woman who left her family in Hoover, Alabama, to join ISIS, is not a U.S. citizen, her attorneys told AL.com Thursday.

The ruling means the government does not recognize her a citizen of the United States, even though she was born in the U.S.

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Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- The Marine Corps could train as many as eight co-ed companies at boot camp each year, and the general overseeing the effort is hitting back against those complaining that the move is lowering training standards.

"Get over it," Maj. Gen. William Mullen, the head of Training and Education Command told Military.com on Thursday. "We're still making Marines like we used to. That has not changed."

Mullen, a career infantry officer who has led troops in combat — including in Fallujah, Iraq — said Marines have likely been complaining about falling standards since 1775.

"I'm assuming that the second Marine walking into Tun Tavern was like 'You know ... our standards have gone down. They're just not the same as it they used to be,'" Mullen said, referring to the service's famous birthplace. "That has always been going on in the history of the Marine Corps."

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