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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PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Comedienne Chonda Pierce entertains the crowd with Leanna Tweeden (sitting at keyboard) during Sgt. Maj. of the Army Hope & Freedom Tour 2010 at Bagram Airfield Dec. 21. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. James Wilton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth O. Preston rocked the house at Bagram Airfield with help of the U.S. Army Band “Downrange” and other performers during a USO holiday tour Dec. 21.

Musical performances, a comedy act and dancing ensued as servicemembers and civilians gathered at the clamshell for the Sgt. Maj. of the Army Hope & Freedom Tour 2010.  

“The office of the Sgt. Maj. of the Army has had the honor and privilege to sponsor this holiday show for nine years,” said Preston. “This is the entertainers’ way to say thanks for your service and your sacrifice and for what you’re doing for not only our country but what you’re doing for the Afghan people.”

Musical performances included Kenny Thomas, a former Army Ranger, who was joined by Kevin Lawson, James Jones and Emily West. He, along with Alana Grace, brought the house down with rock performances. Buddy Jewel added a little country flair to the mix.

Leeane Tweeden served as mistress of ceremonies and Chonda Pierce did a comedy act. Two Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, Nicole Hamilton and Brandy Redman, entertained the servicemembers with a dance routine and joined the musical acts on stage as backup dancers.

This is the second USO-sponsored holiday show to make its way through Afghanistan this month. The performers not only thanked the service members but they shared their own stories of personal experiences or family ties to the military.

“Last year at this time I was standing here on stage and my husband, fiancé at the time, was standing back there in that corner,” said Tweeden, who is married to an Air National Guardsman and has been a part of 14 USO shows. “When you go back home tonight and e-mail your families or call them, please thank them for us because, after all, they’re what you’re fighting for.”

The servicemembers in attendance were very thankful for the chance to forget about work for awhile and just enjoy the show.

“On behalf of the 32,850 freedom fighters in RC-East, I would like say thank you,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Schroeder, Combined Joint Task Force-101 and Regional Command-East command sergeant major. “I know whether it was 30,000 servicemembers or five that you would still be putting the same amount of energy into the show and we appreciate it and I think that this show was more than adequate.”

At the conclusion of the show, servicemembers had a chance to meet the entertainers and receive autographs or personal photos.


PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Buddy Jewel and the U.S. Army Band “Downrange” are joined by Nicole Hamilton and Brandy Redman, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, during a country performance during the Sgt. Maj. of the Army Hope & Freedom Tour 2010 at Bagram Airfield Dec. 21. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. James Wilton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Army Kenneth O. Preston is joined on stage by Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Schroeder, Combined Joint Task Force-101 and Regional Command-East command sergeant major, during the Sgt. Maj. of the Army Hope & Freedom Tour 2010 at Bagram Airfield Dec. 21. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. James Wilton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Comedienne Chonda Pierce sports a 101st Airborne Division jersey during her comedy act during the Sgt. Maj. of the Army Hope & Freedom Tour 2010 at Bagram Airfield Dec. 21. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. James Wilton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Kenny Thomas, a former Army Ranger, joined by Kevin Lawson, James Jones, Emily West and the U.S. Army Band “Downrange” rock out during the Sgt. Maj. of the Army Hope & Freedom Tour 2010 at Bagram Airfield Dec. 21. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. James Wilton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 December 2010 16:46


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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.