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)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – “Congratulations, you guys are awesome.”
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Barton Allen of Cheyenne, Wy., with the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron, said it with a wave and a smile. His students sat among the 85 Afghans about to graduate from the Korean Vocational Training Center at Bagram Airfield Dec. 8.
They had studied a wide range of technical fields: automotive, construction, electricity, welding and computers, with students in each field also learning English. Allen taught English to the construction students.
Eight months, or 700 training hours, had gone into the training of the students who sat beneath a banner that perhaps foretold their futures: “You are (the) dream and hope of future Afghanistan.”
“I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with them,” Allen said.
A profitable journey
The Koreans broke ground on the training center on June 24, 2009. When the first class began April 8, the KVTC had students from Kapisa and Parwan provinces. Each of the new students were selected by officials from their respective provinces to attend the school.
Representatives from Fluor Corporation, which handles civilian contracting on Bagram, surveyed the school and found programs that suited their staffing needs while class was in session.
“(This is) what you would see in a vocational school or community college back in the States,” said Joe Yoswa, Fluor director of public affairs.
Which is why, after months of training, each of the students graduated with a job waiting for them. Of the 85 students, Fluor hired 82 to work on Bagram. One is going to a job in Kabul and the other two will stay on at the vocational school, said Deok-Soo Kong, director of the KVTC for Kapisa and Parwan.
“Even though you’re born poor, you can make your life wealthy through your efforts,” Kong said at their graduation.
From past to future
“You represent not only your own future, but the future of your nation,” said Brig. Gen. Warren E. Phipps Jr. of El Paso, Texas, Combined Joint Task Force-101 deputy commanding general, to the graduates.
Ravi Sayed Muslim, a KVTC graduate from Parwan Province, said he felt very good about graduating in construction. Before attending the KVTC, he put together exercise equipment on Bagram and went to high school. Now he has a job with Fluor and is considering going to college one day.
“I want to continue my studies… and I want to work on my skill,” Muslim said.
Allen said Muslim and his classmates are very intelligent and, more importantly, able to compete for good jobs.
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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.