50 graduate Fatima Girls High School

Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)

Polish and US Forces bond through weapons

Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)

TF Duke Soldiers volley for peace

U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)

Nurgaram District leaders electrify Nangaresh schools

Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)

10th CAB Soldiers bring communications to Bagram’s east side

U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)

ANA, Red Bulls search Parwai during Operation Brass Monkey

An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)

Female engagement teams trained to aid communication with Afghan women

U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)

ANA, TF Storm break trail, make difference in Kharwar

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)

Ky. ADT II begins Panjshir sheep parasite project

Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)

Engineer Soldiers deliver aid to Afghans

An Afghan carrying a child approaches U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Peter Moeller of Atkins, Iowa, a medic with Task Force Red Bulls, for humanitarian aid at Qale-Mussa Pain Middle School (click for more)

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NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan- U.S. Army Sgt. Shannon Osterholm, a truck driver from Des Moines, Iowa with the 2168 Transportation Detachment, throws a ratchet strap over a box loaded with mail Dec. 18 at Forward Operating Base Fenty. In her civilian life, Osterholm is a zookeeper at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – It was a week before Christmas.

Some of the Soldiers of Company E, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, talked of a snowstorm back home in Iowa. However, on Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam in eastern Afghanistan, they laughed as they tossed a University of Iowa Hawkeyes football back and forth on a beautiful, sunny, 70-degree day Dec. 18.


The Soldiers were relaxing before going on one of the last mail runs before Christmas. There are only a few hundred Soldiers on FOB Mehtar Lam, and even less on combat outposts Najil, Kalagush and Xio Haq, the places where some of the mail would eventually be delivered. The Soldiers, part of Task Force Ironman from the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry “Red Bulls” Division, are responsible for running convoys of supplies back and forth between FOB Mehtar Lam and Forward Operating Base Fenty, as well as to the smaller combat outposts.

“I enjoy getting mail as much as anybody else does, so it’s kind of nice to bring some back to the other Soldiers,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Cassidy Howard, a truck driver with the 2168 Transportation Detachment, attached to Task Force Ironman.

Howard looked over at the long line of pallets of mail lining the two flatbed trucks in front of him. There were 25 pallets of uni-packs completely filled with packages and tuff boxes on the trailer beds, the majority of which were holiday mail and care packages.

“When you deliver this much mail, there’s probably something for you in there,” said Howard, who works as a construction worker in Milford, Iowa. “I think that’s kind of exciting; we’ve been waiting for it, too.”

The Soldiers of Co. E has been delivering a lot of holiday mail lately. The unit, based out of Waterloo, Iowa, typically does not handle mail. The majority of the mail is usually flown in by civilian contractors. However, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Clint Holtz, Co. E executive officer from Walnut, Iowa, said there is currently a lapse in air-mail contracts meaning Co. E is picking up the slack. During this time of year, the volume of mail is even higher than usual.

“We always try to grab mail on our convoys, if we can,” Holtz said. “But we’re not used to grabbing so much!”

Holtz said Co. E would usually conduct combat logistical patrols to transport supplies to the FOBs and COPs, as well as escorting Afghan vehicles on supply runs. The company does an average of two to three convoys a week between FOBs Mehtar Lam and Fenty, as well as to the COPs. The convoys are 20 to 45 miles each way, and Holtz said in the three months they’ve been here, Co. E has convoyed more than 1,300 miles and transported thousands of tons of supplies. But the company does much more than convoys.

He said Co. E is a forward support company, meaning pieces of it can be found at FOB Mehtar Lam, as well as the smaller COPs in the Red Bulls area of operations. The company supports the 1st Bn., 133rd Inf. by providing cooks, vehicle/equipment mechanics, fuelers and transportation Soldiers for the regiment.
U.S. Army Sgt. Shannon Osterholm is another truck driver from the 2168 Trans. Det., which is attached to Co. E in support of Task Force Ironman. She said she likes driving trucks for the Army because of the places it takes her and also volunteered for this deployment.

“Back home, we drive all over the United States,” Osterholm said. “I’ve seen so many states and different places being a truck driver.”

Osterholm said driving trucks is also a nice change of pace from her civilian life, in which she works as a zookeeper with the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I like it,” Osterholm, who lives in Des Moines but is from Mason City, Iowa, said. “It kind of breaks life up a little.”

In addition, Osterholm said she has driven supplies on relief missions, such as to Louisiana after Hurricane Gustov.

After they had picked up all the mail at FOB Fenty, the Soldiers of Co. E made the 42-mile trip back to FOB Mehtar Lam, where the mail was sorted to be distributed to the Soldiers there, as well as separated to go to the COPs. It was a busy day, and one the Soldiers knew they would repeat the trip again soon. Still, Holtz said his Soldiers like to be on the road.

“They get restless if they’re sitting around on Mehtar Lam for too long,” Holtz said. “They like to keep busy and be on the go.”

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Sgt. Shannon Osterholm of Des Moines, Iowa (left), U.S. Army Sgt. Cassidy Howard of Milford, Iowa, (far center), and U.S. Army Sgt. Jared Henkle of Cincinnatti, Iowa (right), all truck drivers with the 2168 Transportation Detachment with Task Force Ironman, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry “Red Bulls” Division, place a tarp over pallets of mail Dec. 18 at Forward Operating Base Fenty for a holiday mail convoy back to Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Randy Rennison of Dubuque, Iowa, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry “Red Bulls” Division, noncommissioned officer in charge of the passenger terminal at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, uses a Bobcat to push pallets of mail into the mail room Dec. 18. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)


Last Updated on Thursday, 23 December 2010 00:50


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Coalition forces engage insurgents in Kapisa

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Coalition forces killed seven insurgents in defensive operations in the Alah Say District, Kapisa Province, eastern Afghanistan, March 29.

Coalition forces and aircraft responded to an insurgent attack. Four insurgents were killed by air strike and three were killed by direct fire from coalition forces.

All rounds were reported safe and on target. There were no reports of injuries or damages to civilians in the area.

ANSF, ISAF begin major operation in Laghman valley

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Afghan National Security Forces, partnered with U.S. Task Forces Red Bulls and Phoenix and French Task Force La Fayette, began operations in Galuch Valley, Laghman Province, March 25.

Soldiers of the Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps, Afghan National Police’s 202nd Shamshod and the U.S. Army’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, TF Red Bulls, supported by the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Phoenix, conducted an air assault into the valley to remove enemy forces. Battle Group Richelieu, TF La Fayette, provided artillery support from Kapisa Province.

While conducting operations, the forces found multiple weapons caches including assorted rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, Russian rockets, materials to make homemade explosives, various other ordnances and communication equipment.  

While moving through the valley, unit leadership met with village elders to discuss the security situation and to allow them to give up insurgents still in the area.

The operation will assist the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in establishing the valley as a new district giving the Afghan people in the area freedom from the insurgency.   

President Hamid Karzai approved the creation of the additional district and hopes the new district will help improve the security of the area and support the reconstruction effort.

Mohammad Iqbal Azizi, Laghman Province governor, held a press conference March 7 announcing the establishment of a new district located in the valley.

ANSF, TF Bastogne continue operations in Kunar


KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and coalition troops from Task Force Bastogne continued operations in the Shigal District March 18 after clearing the village of Lawsin and the surrounding area.

Afghan leaders, coalition forces look forward

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Leaders from across eastern Afghanistan attended a security conference March 9 at Forward Operating Base Thunder, the home of the Afghan Army’s 203rd Thunder Corps.