KHOWST PROVINCE – U.S. Army National Guard Capt. Randy Cuyler, a 3-19th ADT hydrologist and resident of Southbend, Ind., works side by side with Omar, caretaker of the (click for more)
Pfc. Randall Kinnaman from Norman, Okla., provides security in a village in the Charbaran District Oct. 27 during Task Force White Currahee Toccoa Tikurah, the largest combined air assault mission (click for more)
Army Lt. Col. Wiley Blevins, Bamyan ETT leader, from Wilmington, Del.; and Army Maj. Timothy Drake, contracting officer for the ETT from Lewes, Del., meet Oct. 25 with the contractor (click for more)
U.S. Army National Guard Lt. Col. Pamela Moody, 3-19th ADT Women’s Outreach Team and resident of Indianapolis, meets with Hasina Akhmad Ziy, principal of the Khowst girls school with the (click for more)
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class David A. Rogers of Bloomington, Minn., Kunar PRT engineer, and Shafak Pervez, electrical engineer with the USACE, inspect a generator control panel Nov. 1 (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE – U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joel Vowell of Birmingham, Ala., commander of the 101st Airborne Division's Task Force No Slack, addresses village elders at the Narang (click for more)
Police officer Javeed Hakmal (left) and Lt. Sherwali Hakmal stand in front of police headquarters in Mehtar Lam. Javeed and his father Sherwali graduated from the Laghman Province police academy (click for more)
Members of Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team provide security during a shura in Mirzaka Nov. 4. The shura gave new PRT personnel the opportunity to introduce themselves to local Afghan leadership (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE - Army Spc. Brandon Brouhard, a combat medic from Modesto, Calif., assigned to Task Force No Slack, pulls on his helmet and gear to prepare for his tower (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Helicopters have become a common sight in Afghan skies, and whether carrying supplies and personnel or providing close air support for ground troops below, they have proven to be an invaluable asset in the war against terrorism.
Keeping those helicopters running and in top mechanical shape is no easy task, but for a few Soldiers at Forward Operating Base Salerno, that mission is their focus, and it is a job they take seriously.
The maintenance and repair of about 40 of the unit’s helicopters fall to the Soldiers from the maintenance department of Company D, Task Force Viper.
Since their arrival 11 months ago, their hard work helped task force pilots log nearly 26,000 hours of flying time.
“Our mission is maintenance support, technical support and shop support for all of our task force’s rotary aircraft,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class James Wilson, a native of Danville, Ark., and production control noncommissioned officer with D Co., Task Force Viper. “This is a very self-sufficient task force. We are able to do a lot of different repairs, and there are very few things we don’t have the know-how or training to fix.”
The maintenance department is divided into different sections, including armament, quality control, airframe repair, power train and an engine shop.
Whether it is routine scheduled maintenance or an emergency repair such as a bird-strike, a leak or a small crack in the airframe, the Soldiers stand ready to accomplish their mission 24 hours a day.
“We normally work 12-hour shifts, but there have been plenty of days we’ve put in 15 hours or more,” said U.S. Army Sgt. James Elliot, turbine engine mechanic from Millbrook, Ala., assigned to D. Co., TF Viper. “The operational tempo, the speed and the amount of work we do here is much higher than in the states, but we will do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
A large part of the department’s job is conducting preventative maintenance on the aircraft in a time-consuming process called phasing.
Phasing involves completely stripping an aircraft down to fix or replace worn parts, looking for and repairing cracks in the airframe, removing and inspecting all the electrical components and much more.
“Every 500 hours of flying time, the [AH-64] Apache helicopters are brought in for phasing,” said Elliot. “Some aircraft can fly longer, such as the [UH-60] Blackhawks, but they all are required to go through the phasing process at some point.”
The process can take nearly two weeks per aircraft, and so far the Soldiers completed phasing for nearly 50 helicopters.
In addition to the phasing process, there is plenty of other work to keep the Soldiers busy as well.
They maintain and repair the guns and armaments of several Apaches, make structural repairs to aircraft frames, fix and replace engines, rotors, blades and any parts that could cause problems with the aircraft’s safety.
But despite the hard work and long hours involved, the Soldiers seem to enjoy what they do.
“It’s definitely a challenging job because you have to know all the different airframes and engines,” said Elliot. “It’s a lot to know, but that’s what I like about it. I like the challenge and learning all the knowledge that comes with it.”
Although the maintenance job challenges the Soldiers, their ability to work through the challenges and get the mission done does not go unnoticed.
“I’m more impressed by far with this task force and these Soldiers than I have ever been with any other unit in nearly 20 years of being in the military,” said Wilson. “These guys are capable of doing anything, and I could not ask for a better crew.”
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|Security Forces begin clearing eastern Pech River Valley|
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, conducted an air assault into the eastern Pech River Valley in continued pursuit of militant fighters in the Kunar Province Nov. 12.
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KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – French Army Col. Georges German, the Task Force La Fayette deputy commander; and Nijrab District Deputy Gov. Mohamad Safi and chief of police inaugurated the Mollah Bashro police station here Nov. 2.
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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The combined security force of Afghan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Force Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, finished clearing operations in the western Pech River Valley here Nov. 3.
|TF Iron conducts air assault to stop insurgent attacks|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Task Force Iron Rakkasans continue thwart insurgent activities as three platoons took part in an air assault operation into Shamshay Village, Andar District, here Oct. 29.