Cultural Support Team CST Female Special Operations MARSOC Zer-e-koh Valley, Afghanistan Marine Challenge Coin
This coin is 1 3/4 inches in diameter.
a CST or Cultural Support Team is an interesting and unique war fighting tool the USMC pioneered and the other services have implemented as part of their war fighting strategy.
Since early 2009 teams of female U.S. Marines, known as Female Engagement Teams (FETs), have been deployed in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. counterinsurgency (COIN) effort. Initially, they were drawn from troops already on the ground and received little training, but in April 2010 the first forty Marines selected and trained specifically to work as FETs deployed to Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan. Their mission? To engage Afghan women, the “other half” of the population whose hearts and minds need to be won over to ensure the success of the COIN campaign. COIN, a traditional mainstay of colonial rule, was resurrected as an appropriate strategy. General David Petraeus, who had success with population-centric warfare in Iraq, also led its adoption in Afghanistan under General Stanley McChrystal in 2009.