At just after midnight, an elderly Afghan by the name of Shina arrived at the gate of Camp Blessing. When the interpreter reached the gate, he said he needed to speak to the Marines’ senior officer, that there was a wounded American in his village. The interpreter ran to the Marine COC, and found the commanding officer, telling him that the man said he had a wounded American in his village. The interpreter added that for anyone to venture out in the middle of the night in Kunar was extraordinary.
The Marine Lieutenant was unaware of what had happened on Sawtalo Sar less than two days before. He knew only that he had been instructed to prepare for a search in the nearby mountains. He ran to the gate and met Shina, a tired-looking, gray-bearded man from the Shuryek Valley.
Taking Shina to the FOB’s “tearoom,” the Lieutenant had him served tea and a little food, then sat down to talk to him. Shina told him, through the interpreter, that an American doctor was in their village. He had been shot, and appeared in bad shape. He went on to say that the doctor was treating himself. That suggested to the Lieutenant that the “doctor” was a Navy Corpsman. The man handed over a note, written on Rite in the Rain paper, from Marcus, telling the Americans that he had been shot, that the villagers had taken him in, and were taking care of him. Initially, the Lieutenant couldn’t make out the signature, or much of the rest of the handwriting, and was confused that there was no real identifying information in the note, which he would have expected from a SOF operator who was isolated and on E&E. He took the note to the COC, scanned it, and sent it by secure email to the Marine Operations Officer at Asadabad.
The fact was, Marcus had not intended the note to serve as a “blood chit,” but had in fact expected to accompany Shina to Asadabad. The elder had instead left without him, apparently considering him too much of a hindrance on a trek over the mountains in his condition, having been shot in the leg. Shina had walked down the Shuryek Valley from Sabray to Matin, where he had hired a taxi for the ride up the Pech River Valley to Nangalam and Camp Blessing. The tribesmen of the Shuryek had had more dealings with 2/3 than they had had with anyone at Asadabad, and therefore trusted the Marines more.