LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Capt. Jason Merchant, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman from Dysart, Iowa, hands out cards Dec. (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lauren Hyman of Texarkana, Texas, armored vehicle driver for the 64th Military Police Company based at Combat Oupost Fortress, says hello to an (click for more)
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich, an infantry officer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Task Force Ironman, draws a smile from an Afghan boy as Gingrich (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Brian Stowe, a human resources specialist from Elkmont, Ala., with Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sings a ballad he wrote and (click for more)
PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and French military chiefs conduct a briefing before deployment during a security operation. Afghan National Security Forces and French Task Force Richelieu conducted Operation Montevideo (click for more)
PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan family looks at their new family member after she was delivered by the Polish Army medical team at Forward Operating Base Warrior Jan. 3. (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, maneuver through Sabari District during patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in the (click for more)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Six fallen Soldiers from Task Force Bulldog were honored during a memorial service at Combat Outpost Honikker Miracle in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Nov. 21.
The Soldiers were all attached to Abu Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
Spc. Shane H. Ahmed from Chesterfield, Mich.; Spc. Shannon M. Chihuahua from Thomasville, Ga.; Spc. Nathan E. Lillard from Knoxville, Tenn.; Spc. Scott T. Nagorski from Greenfield, Wis.; Spc. Jesse A. Snow from Fairborn, Ohio; and Pfc. Christian M. Warriner from Mills River, N.C.; all died of wounds sustained during combat in Operation Bulldog Bite Nov. 14.
The fallen heroes were remembered by their brothers in arms during the memorial ceremony.
Ahmed, an infantryman who is survived by his wife Eva Vasquez, daughter Evita Vasquez, son Evan Vasquez, mother Subra Ahmed and father Jamel Ahmed, is best remembered by his squad leader Sgt. Justin R. Hayworth.
“He was open and loving,” said Hayworth from Colorado Springs, Colo. “All he wanted to do was hang out with us and be a part of the family… He’d bend over backward for us and was always begging to go outside the wire to do his job.”
Hayworth said his fellow Soldiers would joke with him about going to the gym to do the P-90X workout, but not look any stronger.
Ahmed, born Dec. 9, 1978, joined the Army in 1999, had a previous deployment to Iraq, had Pashtu language training and joined the unit after it had already deployed to Afghanistan. His major awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Army Good Conduct Medal.
Chihuahua, a combat medic, is survived by his wife Kirsten and two children, Sophia and Annabelle.
“If he wasn’t on mission, his heart and mind was devoted to his family,” said Staff Sgt. Eric L. Allen Allen, Chihuahua’s platoon sergeant. “He loved his junk food and his wife kept him supplied. But he always shared with us.”
“’Chewy’ or ‘Doc,’ as we called him, was quiet, soft-spoken, but loved his movies” said Allen, who is from Atlanta. “His living area was immaculate, much cleaner than mine; he’s a doctor so he was just meticulous like that.”
Chihuahua had a baby born in June, but refused to miss his platoon’s deployment for her birth, Allen said. During his leave, he did get to see his newborn daughter.
Chihuahua, born May 5, 1985, joined the Army in 2008, deployed to Afghanistan and served in numerous combat operations. His major awards and decorations include the Combat Medic Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.
Another Soldier in the company, Lillard, an infantryman, is survived by his mother Helen Hyatt. Lillard’s closest battle buddy, Pfc. Garett A. Furlow, remembered him.
“He’s country; the most red-neck dude you’ll ever meet,” said Furlow, a native of Valier, Ill. “He’s got the most beautiful heart; no, that’s an understatement. I could call him at 3 a.m. to drive 30 to 45 minutes to my house just to talk to me and my wife… He always had a willingness to help out, just an amazing person… I love him.”
Lillard collected hats and had a whole closetful from every state he visited said Furlow. He loved the Dallas Cowboys football team and wore their apparel whenever he had the chance, Furlow added.
Lillard, born Aug. 18, 1984, joined the Army in 2009, deployed to Afghanistan, and participated in more than 18 air assault missions and three major operations. His major awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal.
Nagorski, an infantryman, is survived by his wife Nadine and their daughter Melody.
“Scott was always in a good mood; I never saw him angry and he would go out of his way to help people,” said Sgt. Dylan Anger, a team leader from Sterling Heights, Mich. “He had a funny hobby of collecting pictures of post offices. He would go out of his way to take pictures of a post office in some rinky-dink town… I’m going to miss him.”
Nagorski’s daughter recently celebrated her first birthday a few days ago and he and Anger would compare stories about their daughters learning to walk.
Nagorski, born Nov. 13, 1983, deployed to Afghanistan and participated in more than 18 air assault missions and three major operations. His major awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Army Achievement Medal.
Snow is survived by his mother Janice and his father John. He was remembered by his battle buddy, Pfc. Garett A. Furlow from Valier, Ill.
“He always picked things up quick, but you couldn’t keep his attention long,” Furlow said. “You gotta give it to him fast and quick or he’s moving on to the next thing.”
His friends would play tricks on him by moving items around in his room without telling him and Snow would obsessively know something was out of place, said Furlow.
“He also liked running a lot,” Furlow added. “When it came to (physical training), you just couldn’t stop him… He was naturally good at it.”
Snow, born April 18, 1985, deployed to Afghanistan and participated in more than 18 air assault missions and three major operations. His major awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal.
The youngest infantryman, Warriner, is survived by his wife Shelby. His battle buddy, Pfc. Dustin J. Wade from Lakeland, Fla., shared reflections of him.
“He always needed to talk to his wife; He loved her a lot,” Wade said. “He played football in high school and wanted to play in college someday. We told him, ‘No chance.’ But he just blew us off because once he got something in his mind, he would believed he could do it.”
Warriner always carried a Confederate flag with him on missions, Wade said.
“Somehow he became everybody’s friend,” added Wade.
Warriner, born Mar. 15, 1991, joined the Army in 2009, attended U.S. Army Airborne School, then deployed to Afghanistan where he went on numerous combat patrols and participated in three major operations. His major awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.
Leaders from throughout International Security Assistance Forces command and ISAF – Joint Command paid tribute to these heroes with a final salute, leaving of memorabilia and saying a prayer as Taps echoed throughout the distance valley.
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|Afghan forces, TF Bastogne continue operations in Sherzad District|
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Bastogne, continued operations in the Sherzad District Jan. 8 clearing the village of Toto of insurgent fighters to reinforce a foundation of security in the area.
|TF Iron eliminates insurgent IED team|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers form Task Force Iron Rakkasan and members of the Afghan Uniformed police, using the Precision Threat Detection System blimp at Forward Operating Base Andar, identified a group of insurgents with weapons and explosives Jan. 3.
|TF Iron Rakkasan uses PTDS to prevent highway robbery|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Recently, Soldiers from Task Force Iron Rakkasan watched a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police conduct an illegal checkpoint on the route between Ghazni and Sharana. Using the camera system on the Persistent Threat Detection System, Soldiers observed a man standing in the road collecting money from vehicles. The practice is common by insurgents who fund their attacks by taking money from locals.
|Joint operation helps clear Sherzad of insurgent activity|
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from Task Force Bastogne began operations in the Sherzad District Dec. 23.