Kajaki Dam, Afghanistan – Marines from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion 8th Marines have spent months searching for enemy weapons caches and fighting positions in the mountains and valleys around the Kajaki Dam in southern Afghanistan.
But in late June they discovered something they were not prepared to find: a dinosaur.
According to Sergeant Mark Stahlberg, an 0352 TOW Gunner, his patrol had set off on a routine mission to investigate a tip about a weapons cache in nearby Zamindawar, a known Taliban stronghold.
"The whole area is full of these 'karezes', or tunnels, and we've been finding a lot of rockets, mortars, and IED components in them," said Sergeant Stahlberg. "So when we got a hit on our metal detector we figured, you know, time to call EOD and sit tight."
However, while digging up the enemy munitions, Sergeant Stahlberg's patrol also uncovered a previously-unknown species of dinosaur.
"Right between these two sets of munitions, we found this massive skull with huge teeth. It was too big to be a mountain lion and too small to be God, but none of us knew what it was."
"Fortunately our S-2 Intelligence Analyst was with us and correctly identified it as a late-Cretaceous period dinosaur of a previously-unknown species."
Following the discovery, Sergeant Stahlberg's unit was told to entrench until a trained archeological team could be flown to their position from the Musa Qaleh Museum of Natural History.
Sergeant Stahlberg's impression of the Stahlbergosaurus in its natural environment.
While digging fighting positions, the squad inadvertently uncovered the rest of the skeleton, creating a bigger problem over the naming rights.
"Come guys, it's a Stahlbergosaurus!" Sergeant Stahlberg argued with his Marines back at Observation Post Shrine.
"Naw, man," said Lance Corporal Omar Ryan. "I dug up the fucking legs. It's either a Ryanosaurus, a Terminal-Lanceosaurus, or a FuckStaffSergeantDavidosaurus."
Major General Charles Gurganus, commander of the I Marine Expeditionary Force, issued a statement praising the Marines of 1/8 Weapons Company for giving some much-needed direction to the Marine mission in southern Afghanistan.
Major General Gurganus vowed to send out additional patrols to uncover any other dinosaur skeletons in southern Afghanistan.
"This is what it's all about gentlemen," MajGen Gurganus told the Marines. "All the heat, the danger, the endless patrols, but now, you're a part of Marine Corps history."
"Someday you will tell your children and grandchildren how you were there when man first discovered the Gurganusaurus."