WASHINGTON -- Air Force special forces on the ground in Afghanistan call in airstrikes by Navy jets.
Marine helicopters retrieve the wreckage of a crashed Army chopper. Military special forces work alongside CIA operatives helping anti-Taliban groups. Army soldiers help provide security for other service members in dangerous areas of the country.
The war in Afghanistan is providing a real-world test of the Defense Department's goal of breaking down barriers and rivalries among the branches of the U.S. armed forces.
All five military branches -- including the Coast Guard, under military command during wartime -- are participating in the fight against terrorism prompted by the Sept. 11 attacks.
That makes coordination among the branches critical, especially in Afghanistan, where the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all have had personnel both in the air and on the ground.
* Hundreds of Marines have secured an airstrip within about 70 miles of the ruling Taliban militia's last stronghold, Kandahar. Up to 1,100 Marines will hold the airstrip as a forward base for their operations in Afghanistan, said the war's commander, Army Gen. Tommy Franks. Marine Harrier jets flying from Navy carriers in the Arabian Sea also have bombed various targets in Afghanistan.
* Army special forces are in Afghanistan helping anti-Taliban forces and calling in airstrikes. Pentagon officials say a group of 20 to 30 soldiers from the Army's 10th Mountain Division, members of so-called "rapid-reaction forces," moved Wednesday from neighboring Uzbekistan into northern Afghanistan to provide security for U.S. military and humanitarian personnel. A group of Army Rangers and other special forces troops swooped into Afghanistan aboard helicopters last month and raided two areas near Kandahar.
* Air Force special forces also are with anti-Taliban fighters inside Afghanistan. Air Force attack jets and long-range bombers have joined in the airstrikes, with some on missions that took them to Afghanistan from bases in the United States.
* Navy attack jets have been a large part of the air campaign in landlocked Afghanistan, and other Navy personnel have been on the ground.
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