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)
These troops of Forward Operating Base Connolly have a wide range of duties. Some days they are on a combat logistical patrol, another day they may be part of the quick reaction force responding to a threat to the COB.
Troop D is part of 4th Brigade Combat Team (Task Force Currahee), 101st Airborne Division, but is attached to 1st Brigade Combat Team (Task Force Bastogne).
They can provide transportation for the explosive ordnance disposal team, work to recover a disabled vehicle or secure a sling-load to a helicopter in support of an air assault mission.
Regardless of the hat they wear during day-to-day operations, the Soldiers stay busy, said Army 2nd Lt. Thomas Csala of Rising Sun, Md., Troop D’s distribution platoon leader.
“They’re a hardworking group of individuals,” Csala said. “Delta Troop’s primary mission is to provide logistical support to the 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment and all its assets throughout Task Force Panther. My Soldiers face a lot of different challenges. They handle a lot of responsibilities, not to mention the dangers they face doing the jobs they do, going out there with the threat of (improvised explosive devices), rocket-propelled grenades and all the other threats.”
One of the platoon’s main missions is running combat logistics patrols. During the CLPs, the platoon’s Soldiers, which include a large number of truck drivers, form a convoy from FOB Connolly to FOB Fenty to deliver and pick up supplies, including mail.
“You can look at it like a post office,” Csala said. “We go to the big post office (at FOB Fenty) and get the mail, then push it down to the smaller recipients.”
U.S. Army Sgt. Thomas J. Adams of Lufkin, Texas, a truck driver with the distribution platoon, said he especially enjoys his job because it directly affects the other Soldiers on FOB Connolly.
“I like what we do; getting the mail, in particular, because it builds up the morale of the other Soldiers,” said Adams, who has been a truck driver nearly four years. “We’re here to support the cavalry and infantry guys and do whatever we can to make their missions a little bit easier. That little bit of mail they get, or stuff from home, really means a lot.”
Csala said the distribution platoon will typically run between two to three CLPs each week. The convoys make for a long day. Though the trip between the two FOBs usually takes only an hour to an hour and a half depending on the amount of supplies the platoon is hauling, the loading, unloading and preparation makes for a much longer mission.
Csala said since the platoon arrived in Afghanistan in September, it’s logged almost 10,000 miles on the road. Additionally, the platoon hauled more than 715 tons of cargo. Luckily, they admit, their platoon has not had any incidents of IEDs or RPG fire yet.
“You can attribute a lot of that to the Soldiers and their training,” Csala said. “They’re constantly being vigilant out there on the road.”
When they’re not out on the road hauling freight between FOBs, Csala said his platoon is on stand-by for the QRF.
“We could get a call at any time on the radio saying something’s happened; someone attacked the FOB or something, and we’ll need to go,” Csala said. “So we always need to maintain a (high) state of readiness.”
If called upon, Csala said the platoon must be mounted up in their trucks in full body armor with their personal and mounted weapon systems calibrated and ready to roll out of the gate within a short amount of time.
He said his platoon performs constant battle drills to ensure they’re able to achieve this, adding that they’ve reduced their reaction time by more than half since they first began the battle drills.
“We’re the kind of platoon that doesn’t just focus on the mission we’re doing, we’re also thinking ahead to the next mission,” Csala said. “We’re trying to make things easier for the next mission.”
“We perform (preventive maintenance checks and services) on our vehicles on a daily basis,” Adams said. “We make sure no leaks or any other problems have formed overnight.”
But it doesn’t end there for distribution platoon. There are also the explosive ordnance disposal team escorts and recovery missions, not to mention other taskings given to the Soldiers on the base.
“If a vehicle get hits by an IED, or ... it goes down, we’re tasked to escort the recovery asset, provide a safe hook-up and return to the FOB safely,” Csala explained.
Csala said the Soldiers train constantly on recovering vehicles, keeping current on the latest tactics, techniques and procedures on the subject.
“We’ve had a lot of practice doing it,” Csala said. “At some point, we’ve had to go out and recover a vehicle from every troop so far, but most of our training was conducted prior to deploying here.”
Finally, the distribution platoon also distributes ammunition to the squadron.
“Since we’ve been here, we’ve issued 179,990 rounds,” Csala said.
So the next time you think you’re busy, think about the Soldiers of distribution platoon. Csala said his Soldiers work tirelessly to haul the supplies that keep the rest of the base going.
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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.