Editor's Note: CNN camerawoman Mary Rogers accompanied a U.S. Marine Corps unit on Operation Moshtarak in Marjah from its preparations into the first few weeks. A veteran of warzone reporting, she has filmed in places such as Somalia, Sierra Leone, the Congo, Iraq, Chechnya, Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon and Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002. Here is part 1 of some of her reflections on her time in Marjah and a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges and camaraderie reporting from the Afghan battlefield.
In all my years with CNN, Operation Moshtarak was one of the roughest, toughest assignments I have ever had. It was also one of the most memorable, an experience I wouldn't trade for the world.
D-Day: February 13, 2:30 a.m. local time, somewhere in a farm field on the outskirts of Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Operation Moshtarak begins.
Cold. Dark. Muddy. Miserable. "What in the HELL have I gotten myself into?" These were my first thoughts just minutes after exiting a helicopter with the Alpha 1/6, USMC. Tripping and stumbling in deeply furrowed farmland. Falling not once, but three times! "You are such a dork, Mary," I say to myself. "Wonderful first impression you are making here!" FULL POST
[Update 9 a.m. ET] President Obama landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland shortly before 9 a.m. ET, returning from Afghanistan.
President Obama is expected to return to the United States on Monday morning after a surprise visit to Afghanistan, where he met with President Hamid Karzai and reiterated the need to wipe out terror networks.
Obama slipped into Bagram Air Base near Kabul under the cover of darkness on Sunday. He met with about 2,000 troops at the U.S. base and told them their work is significant to security at home.