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    U.S. Marines Celebrate Independence Day in Afghanistan

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    NTDTelevision

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    U.S. Marines in Afghanistan celebrate the 4th of July with barbecued steaks and mashed potatoes. July also marks the start of a gradual drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, though for now it's still business as usual.

    Marines from the Weapons Company of the First Battalion, Third Marines, have been celebrating Independence Day in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

    In true American style barbecued steaks and sausages were served up alongside garlic and cheese mash potatoes and cake.

    The Commanding Officer for the Weapons Company described how work resumed as usual after the celebratory dinner,

    [Captain Andrew Gourgoumis, Commanding Officer]:
    "Across all the positions in the company, Marines are going to enjoy some good chow and remember why we celebrate Independence Day and, probably no better place to do it, I've had quite a few Independence Days away from home, from the States and it really makes you appreciate the things we enjoy as Americans and we will be happy to celebrate, but it will really be a day like any other, patrols will still go out, work still needs to be done."

    One of the Marines, Jorey Johns, described the experience as almost like being back home,

    [Jorey Johns, Lance Corporal]:
    "It was excellent, almost felt like I was back home sitting out at the lake, eating steaks and hot dogs."

    Security has improved considerably since the arrival of the Marines in the Laki area and there is scheduled to be a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops starting this month.

    Seven areas across the country are preparing to take over security responsibilities from the NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).