Building Bak one shura at a time

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Navy Lt. Mark Fetterman, Khowst Provincial Reconstruction Team engineer from Plymouth, Mass., stands on a hilly outcropping in Bak district during a foot (click for more)

ANA enforces weapon registration law

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers from 1st Coy, 3rd Kandak play with village children during a patrol through Sar Mast Kheyl, Zormat District Jan. 16. (click for more)

Afghan forces, ISAF help improve security in Bak

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An MRAP remains idle as construction efforts surround Combat Outpost Bak and the nearby district center. ISAF, ANP and ANA members work together daily (click for more)

Task Force Leader Soldiers patrol Zambar

KHOWST PROVINCE – U.S. Army Spc. Kyle Oszczakiewicz, an infantryman with 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, from Trenton, N.J., scans for insurgents as 2nd Plt. receives (click for more)

US, Polish forces build relationships in Ghazni

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Polish Battle Group A and Texas Army National Guard Ghazni ADT-IV conduct a village assessment of Pir Shabaz, a small village near Ghazni City, (click for more)

New recruits join Afghan army

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army Operations Sgt. Maj. Akhtar Muhammad takes questions from new recruits during Basic Warrior Training at Forward Operating Base Thunder Jan. 22. (click for more)

ANA, Red Bulls find IED

NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Michael Scarsbrook, an infantryman with Task Force Ironman, from Iowa Falls, Iowa, looks down on a spot in Tupac Jan. 21, (click for more)

ANSF, TF Thunder aim to increase GIRoA influence in Pul-e Alam

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Tyrik L. Holmes, assigned to 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Thunder, (click for more)

Sayed Karam market walk, step in right direction

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class David Davis, from Moore, Okla., the platoon sergeant of the 2-45th ADT’s security force, leads the rear security element (click for more)

Iowa Soldiers discuss ‘average’ days in Afghanistan

NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Pfc. Corey Vanotegham, an infantry radio telephone operator from Victor, Iowa, with TF Ironman, smiles as he stands beside a Holstein cow (click for more)


PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Master Sgt. Karen Stevens, an Ohio native, peers out of a school window as the children gather outside during a medical outreach, April 14, Paktya province, Afghanistan. Coalition forces provided medical aid to over 343 patients in a village outside Gardez. Stevens is a laboratory technician assigned to the Air Force Academy Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Laura Goodgame RC-E Public Affairs Advisory Team) PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – As we roll through the streets of Gardez in our mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, the buildings lining the street tell stories of gun fights, suicide bombers, and improvised explosive devices.  When in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation, one of the people you learn to trust is your gunner, who has a bird’s eye view of everything from the vehicle’s turret.
U.S Army Spc. Florante Rivera a 30 year-old San Diego, California native is sitting in the gunner’s seat exposed to nearly all the external danger in the convoy while protecting fellow servicemembers.

Florante is in the middle of his second deployment. During his first tour he was an infantryman in Iraq however this current deployment is   a logistics supply specialist, not a gunner by military occupational specialty. However, it was a job that needed to be filled once he arrived in Afghanistan. 

“Rivera was more than excited to go back to his infantry roots” said U.S. Army Spc. Ari Konovitz, a medic assigned to the 5 3 alpha battery battalion out of Fort Lewis, Washington.

According to fellow Soliders, Rivera does his job and does it well.

 “He has been ‘gunning’ the entire time we’ve been deployed to Afghanistan and has not let anyone sneak up on our convoy,” said
 U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dawn Thomas.

Rivera keeps family photos of his wife and two kids in his wallet when he rolls out.

“I think about lots of things before we leave the wire, mainly I think about my wife though” said Rivera. “I arrived in country later than the rest of my team from Fort Lewis, Washington. My command let me stay behind to watch the birth of my daughter Deanna in January”.

Not only does Rivera endure all the stress of being a convoy gunner, he also faces off against the harsh Afghan climate. However, with that sacrifice and sitting in the gunners turret he is allowed to view the country in ways many servicemembers do not.

“The weather here can really make you exhausted. There were times it seemed like it was blizzarding back in January, fortunately to the turret has a shield and shade keep the elements outside; the dust will get to you after a long day of riding outside though” says Rivera.

“Afghanistan is beautiful, the winter has lots of snow and in the spring the passes are full of vegetation and livestock as well as camels and monkeys.   Unfortunately amongst all the beauty lies danger... I just want to keep my fellow soldiers safe during every mission, and bring everyone home in October.



PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan soldier helps a child pick up a spilt back pack during a medical outreach April 14, 2010 Paktya province, Afghanistan. Coalition forces provided medical aid as well as immunizations to over 343 patients in a village outside Gardez. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Laura Goodgame RC-E Public Affairs Advisory Team)

























PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Local Afghan’s line up for free medical treatment, April 14, Paktya province, Afghanistan. Coalition forces provided a medical outreach to a village that had no doctor. The outreach was able to provide over 500 immunizations, treated over 343 patients, and handed out over 979 prescriptions. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Laura Goodgame RC-E Public Affairs Advisory Team)

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 April 2010 09:27


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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan –Afghanistan National Security Forces and U.S. Army soldiers of the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, alongside other members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, began a series of joint operations in the Ghazibad District of the Kunar Province Feb. 16.

Drug lab discovered in Nangarhar, material destroyed

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Soldiers assigned to Troop C, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, attached to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conducted a search with Afghan National Security Forces in Loya Torma Village in Sherzad District Feb. 5.

ANSF, TF Bastogne begin operations in Shawan Ghar Valley

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces partnered with the Soldiers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Bastogne, 101st Airborne Division, to begin operations in the Shawan Ghar Valley of the Lal Por District Feb. 3.


Weapons cache found, destroyed in Laghman

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A weapons cache consisting of more than 100 anti-personnel mines was found by coalition forces on patrol near the village of Jugi, Mehtar Lam District, Laghman Province Jan. 27. An explosive ordnance disposal team was deployed to the scene and destroyed the cache in place.

The security and safety of Afghan civilians is an important part of every coalition operation. All weapons caches found during these operations are destroyed to ensure they do not harm civilians or military personnel.

“Mines are indiscriminate killers. They don’t distinguish between Soldiers or civilians, between men, women or children. We must all work together to eliminate the threat posed by these deadly weapons,” said U.S. Army Col. Ben Corell, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls.

If you see any suspicious activity or know of a weapons cache in your area, please report it. Call the Operations Coordination Center Provincial Tip Line at 079-662-0193 or at 079-397-0975.