Red Bulls patrol area around COP Najil

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)

64th MPs: Brothers, sisters in arms

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)

Iowa town showers small Afghan school with supplies

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)

TF Knighthawk Soldier prepares for recording contract during deployment

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)

Guard team partners with Afghan security forces

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)

French forces support Afghan troops in Kapisa

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 PRT engineers inspect Paryan road

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)

TF White Eagle saves lives of mother, infant

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)

1st Bn., 187th Inf. Regt., patrols Sabari District

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)

Freedom Restoration Center helps troops get back to duty

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)

http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/2815041.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/9785872.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/2423393.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/9359674.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/4551775.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/7435936.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/2622417.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/5194988.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/2643569.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/21191510.jpg
http://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3963-red-bulls-patrol-area-around-cop-najil.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3959-64th-mps-brothers-sisters-in-arms.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3957-iowa-town-showers-small-afghan-school-with-supplies.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3956-tf-knighthawk-soldier-prepares-for-recording-contract-during-deployment.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3953-guard-team-partners-with-afghan-security-forces.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3948-french-forces-support-afghan-troops-in-kapisa-.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3944-panjshir-prt-engineers-inspect-paryan-road.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3942-tf-white-eagle-saves-lives-of-mother-infant-.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3941-1st-bn-187th-inf-regt-patrols-sabari-district.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3939-freedom-restoration-center-helps-troops-get-back-to-duty.html

PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus International Security Assistance Force commander, shakes the hand of U.S. Army Spc. Timothy James of Gilbert, Ariz., after pinning him with a Bronze Star Medal with Valor at Combat Outpost Margah Nov. 11. James, an infantryman with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, received the medal and a battlefield promotion from private first class to specialist for his actions during an Oct. 30 attack. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Hector Santos, Task Force Currahee)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan — The Soldiers tasked as the first line of defense for Combat Outpost Margah in Paktika Province were on alert due to reports of a potential attack. The six Soldiers at the observation point were ready, but nobody expected an attack of the magnitude they got.

Clouds filled the sky making that night darker than usual. U.S. Army Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, successfully defended COP Margah from a complex attack against more than 120 insurgents during the early morning hours of Oct. 30.

“The guard at the northeast corner in the turret of the Maxx Pro (Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle) called me on the radio and said he was seeing movement,” said Sgt. Donald R. Starks of Grayling, Mich., a fire team leader with C Co., 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. “As soon as he reported, the insurgents initiated contact by firing a (rocket-propelled grenade) at the vehicle and followed that with a mass amount of small-arms fire.”

“I began to lay down suppressive fire, to give (Pfc. James R. Platt) a chance to exit the vehicle,” said Pfc. Michael T. Landis of Sauguas, Calif., an infantryman with Co. C, 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. Reg.

Once Platt was safely away from the Maxx Pro, the Soldiers assessed the situation and repositioned themselves to prevent the enemy from maneuvering around and gaining the upper hand.

“At this time, the enemy had 30 plus men (attacking) the OP,” said Landis. “We got into firing positions so the enemy couldn’t flank us.”

The situation happened so quickly that some of the Soldiers didn’t have time to put on all their personal safety equipment, but that didn’t deter them from making an impact on the battle.

“Sgt. Starks, even though he didn’t have time to put his boots on or find all his gear, still maneuvered through the enemy while being fired on,” Landis said. “It was almost unreal for him to keep positions manned and keep in contact with Margah Base while engaging the enemy.”

With the observation point under attack, the Soldiers down the mountain side at the COP below prepared to defend their outpost.

“At approximately (1:20 a.m.), I woke up to (Sgt. Byron O. Reed Jr.)  screaming that COP Margah was taking enemy small-arms fire, RPGs and mortar fire,” said Spc. Matthew D. Keating of Portsmouth, Ohio, a gunner with Company F, 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. “Under heavy small-arms fire, my team immediately ran to the rooftop mortar position and started preparing rounds to provide suppressive mortar fire for the Soldiers under attack at the observation point.”

With the rounds prepared, the Soldiers wasted no time and began raining down mortar fire on the enemy.

“Shortly after I reached the roof top, Sgt. Reed and Spc. Keating made their way to the roof and manned the 60mm mortar system,” said 1st Lt. Christopher S. MacGeorge of Shoreline, Wash., a platoon leader with C Co., 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. “I let them know we were taking contact from the (valleys) to the west and they immediately began dropping mortars in that direction.”

Meanwhile at the OP, the enemy was massing more men for the attack and the six Soldiers were giving their best effort to continue pushing them back.

“(Pfc. Timothy James) had ran across open ground under fire to reach the southeast (machine gun) position, which ended up being essential to defending our ground,” said Starks. “While at that position, he was able to fire the (rocket launcher) as well as throw two grenades in the direction of the enemy.”

“Sgt. Starks positioned himself on the (light crew-served machine gun), Pfc. James was on the .50-cal on the northwest and Pfc. Platt and I were behind the bunker waiting on more enemies to come up the road,” said Landis.

With the enemy surging, Starks realigned his Soldiers to better defend against the threat.

“Pfc. Platt yelled to me that they were coming up on the OP from the road entrance, so I sent Pfc. Morehouse to assist in eliminating the threat by (increasing) fire from the bunker,” Starks said. “At that time, I informed Margah Base that our situation was getting worse because they were beginning to rush us and that I had observed more insurgents running up the road to increase their numbers.”

“Pfc. Platt and I were both laying down a steady rate of fire, engaging the enemy to the southeast of the OP,” said Pfc. Livingston D. Morehouse of San Diego, an infantryman with C Co., 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. “They were so close we could hear them speak to each other.”

Margah Base Soldiers at the bottom of the mountainside were on the rooftop doing everything they could to assist their brothers in arms while they battled a surging enemy at the OP above.

“Sgt. (Clifford Edwards) was now acquiring enemy targets with the (grenade launcher) from the firing position located on the rooftop directly to our front,” Keating said. “I fired one (high explosive) round to the northwest and Sgt. Edwards immediately came back with a correction of ‘left 50 drop 50’, he was also firing his personal weapon while giving these corrections.”

Keating said they kept adjusting the mortar fire as they spotted muzzle flashes or enemy movement, and fired rounds to the northwest, south and southeast.

An observation point provides early warning of attacks for the main COP. Since the warning had been provided and the OP was running low on ammo, Starks decided it was the ideal time to withdraw and pull back to Margah Base.

“Everyone was reporting that the ammunition was running low so I made an attempt to reach the ammo bunker which was between our position and the enemy,” Starks said. “Due to heavy small-arms fire and grenades, I was not successful in retrieving any ammunition.”

The Soldiers continued to stave off enemies coming toward them, but it became increasingly difficult because they were within 15 to 20 feet, so Starks began making preparations to tactically reposition his men back to Margah Base.

“Right then we started taking RPG fire again, which had wounded two of my men with shrapnel,” Starks said.

Both Soldiers, despite their injuries, were able to move down the mountain toward Margah Base. “All of us took cover behind some cliffs about 100 meters down and I gave the mortarmen on the roof the signal that we were clear from the OP,” he said.

Once the signal was given that the OP had been repositioned, MacGeorge explained that Spc. Brett Capstick moved off the roof to assist with the 81mm mortar system and the team began to bombard the OP with 155mm mortars from Forward Operating Base Boris, 81mm mortars and the 60mm mortars on the roof.

“I tried to direct them best I could,” Starks said. “I told them they were hitting danger close and that they needed to fire higher up the hill to the east.”

Soon after the barrage of mortar and artillery fire was laid, the air-weapons team was on site with AH-64 Apache helicopters to finish the job by accurately targeting the enemy from the sky above.

“Once (the AWT) was on station, everything calmed down as they began engaging the enemy,” MacGeorge said.

The AWT continued to engage the enemy until 2 p.m.

When the dust settled, five U.S. Army Soldiers were wounded, but 92 enemy combatants were killed, two were wounded and captured, and numerous enemy weapons and communication systems were confiscated.

With the wounded treated and medical evacuation complete, the complex attack was defeated. It would not have been possible without the bravery of the Soldiers involved.

"The men demonstrated an extraordinary amount of courage on the night of Oct. 30,” said Capt. David V. Schulz of Los Angeles, commander of Co. F., 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. “I was already proud to be the commander of (F Co.), but the courage and valor that my guys showed makes me extremely proud to be part of this organization and a leader of Soldiers who give so much in return for so little.”

“We knew air was red, we knew we were outnumbered, and we knew that the insurgents wanted to take over the COP, but all hands were on deck that night ready to fight, backfill, and give everything we asked of them and more,” said Schulz.

He added that the determination, training and selfless service of his men made the difference that night and they stand ready to do it again if needed.

The Soldiers involved in the defense of COP Margah resulted in award or recommendation for: one Silver Star, three Bronze Star Medals with Valor, 12 Army Commendation Medals with Valor, two Purple Hearts, 10 Combat Infantryman Badges and one battlefield promotion.  

PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus (Center), International Security Assistance Force commander, takes a group picture with the men of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, after awarding the Soldiers for their actions during an Oct. 30 attack on Combat Outpost Margah. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Hector Santos, Task Force Currahee)

 

 

    

Related Links

Bagram Airfield

The Flood

English

Dari

Thunder

Thunder

Fallen Heroes

Language Selection

Press Releases

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.

Read more...
 
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.

Read more...
 
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.

Read more...
 
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.

Read more...