Soldiers of 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, fire their weapons at paper targets to ensure the accuracy of their sight systems at Forward Operating Base Shank, Logar Province, Oct. 19. (click for more)
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Steven Holding of Janesville, Iowa, (left) and U.S. Army Warrant Officer Marty Osmundson, of Des Moines, Iowa, both members of the Iowa National Guard’s 734th ADT, (click for more)
U.S. Army Sgt. Bill McDonald decorates a cake Joint Operations Center’s in the dining facility on Bagram Airfield Oct. 18. McDonald is a 28-year-old Quincy, Ill., native and a baker (click for more)
U.S. Army Sgt. Latoya Winham, a human resources sergeant with the 64th MP Company, 205th Military Police Battalion and member of the FOB Wright FET from Anniston, Ala., listens as (click for more)
Afghan National Army soldiers Mohammed Qasim and Seenatullah, both natives of Takhar Province, study during the literacy block of the Team Leader Course on Forward Operating Base Thunder, Paktya Province, (click for more)
Members of the 934th Forward Surgical Team unload a patient from the back of a field litter ambulance at Forward Operating Base Sharana recently. (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Since the beginning of their tour in Afghanistan, the troopers of C Troop, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, have been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to putting pressure on the insurgents in their area of operation.
The insurgency felt this pressure Oct. 18 in the form of an air assault operation when the troopers, Macedonian Rangers and Afghan National Army soldiers flew in by CH-47 Chinook helicopters and were met by Afghan National Policemen to conduct a search operation in the Koh-e Safi District of Parwan Province.
During the operation, the troopers recovered two land mines, a rocket-propelled grenade, bomb-making materials, Afghan National Army uniforms, and a possible vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, and detained four suspects for questioning, one of which tested positive for potential explosive residue on his clothing.
"We wanted to ensure that the insurgency here isn't able to regain any momentum following some of our other successful air assaults,” said U.S. Army Capt. Jack Lehneman, the commander of the troop, from Milton, Vt.
So far, C Troop has conducted five air assault operations. These are large-scale operations that use helicopters for the element of surprise, and are conducted to search for insurgents, weapons, and munitions.
“They (the insurgents) have been dealt some serious blows in this province and we aim to disrupt their re-organization over the winter months. This will allow for an expansion of the security footprint in the province, which will lead to increased stability," added Lehneman.
In addition to demonstrating their ability to disrupt insurgent activities, this operation also proved the respect C Troop earned among not only the civilian population, but their enemies as well.
As soon as the Soldiers approached the first building, which they later found bomb-making materials in, three individuals ran out of a house and surrendered.
“I believe the insurgents both fear and respect the abilities we bring to the fight. This has become apparent in the fact that the insurgents flee or surrender at the arrival of C Troop, and during encounters they have continuously broken contact or surrendered; rather than stand and fight,” said the U.S. Army 1st Sgt. John Digby, C Troop first sergeant and a native of Swanton, Vt.
This air assault operation served as proof that the Charlie troopers have not only become air assault veterans, but have also been key role players in improving the security in Parwan.
“These operations are the capstone to the shaping operations that we've been conducting all year. The inter-agency cooperation between coalition forces, ANA, and ANP is a shining example of General Petraeus' guidance (for combined action) executed in real-time,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Scott Mathewson, a platoon leader with C Troop from South Burlington, Vt.
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