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)

http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/4689251.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/6806902.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/4660053.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/6838114.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/2413645.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/2877986.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/2731507.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/5259568.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/8323039.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/25198410.jpg


LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Anthony Ludwig (right) from Farley, Iowa, and U.S. Army Pfc. Jayson Vandeneinde from St. Petersburg, Fla., both infantryman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, unload holiday mail Dec. 24 at Combat Outpost Najil. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Remote. Small. Austere.

These are all adjectives one could use to describe Combat Outpost Najil here in eastern Afghanistan. COP Najil is home to less than 200 Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, part of the Iowa National Guard’s 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Red Bulls Division, as well as other servicemembers.

The COP is nestled along the base of a mountain, and there is no flat ground; everywhere the servicemembers walk is on a grade. Living conditions are tough, as water for showering and laundry is limited, and the bathrooms are tubes in the ground. There’s no post exchange to be found here; the Soldiers are just happy to have power.

Despite their tough surroundings, Co. A came together to celebrate Christmas and share in some holiday cheer Dec. 24.

“You’re out here hanging out with a bunch of people you never thought you would,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Kenneth Cain, a squad leader with 2nd Platoon from Dubuque, Iowa. “After a deployment like this, getting shot at together, getting blown up, all that stuff, you dang near consider them family.”

Cain, 24, said he does have family here. His younger brother, Kurt, also is an infantryman, is at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, about 25 miles away.

“We’ve seen each other five or six times now,” Cain said. “We make it a point to get a picture every place we’re together. Mom likes that.”

Cain said on Christmas morning, which is Christmas Eve in the United States due to the nine-and-a-half hour time difference, he got to see his children open some of their Christmas presents.

“They all had their little matching pajamas on so it was kind of cute,” Cain said. “It’s a little different, a little difficult with the kids. Santa Claus hasn’t come yet, so they opened some presents from their grandparents, aunts and uncles. I got them a little blow up deer target with some foam arrows and stuff – it’s kind of cool.”

This is the second Christmas being deployed for Cain, who also spent a Christmas in Kosovo.

“I’d describe this Christmas as interesting, but definitely worthwhile,” Cain said. “We all came here to do a job, all on our own free will, nobody got drafted. I extended for this deployment and we’re doing it so people back home can enjoy Christmas and the free life.”

The servicemembers took a day off from patrolling the mountainous area around COP Najil to enjoy the holiday. One person who did not have time off, however, was U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Stover, Co. E, 1st Bn., 133rd Inf. Regt., the lone cook on COP Najil. He was still responsible for feeding several hungry platoons of Soldiers, which was nothing new for him. This time, however, he was cooking two lavish holiday dinners.

“It’s tiring,” Stover admitted. “You get to the point where you can pretty much do it without any sleep.”

Stover, who hails from Strawberry Point, Iowa, and his assistant, U.S. Army Spc. Lee Goddard, Co. E, 1st Bn., 133rd Inf. Regt., a truck driver from Dysart, Iowa, prepared two feasts. For lunch, they prepared a dinner of ham and turkey with all the fixings.

Even though Goddard usually works as a truck driver, Stover said he’s learned to cook pretty well.

“I told him when he gets home he’ll be able to cook his own meals, no more of that easy mac stuff,” Stover joked.

Meanwhile, members of 1st Platoon convoyed to FOB Mehtar Lam, an hour and a half drive south, to pick up mail which was piling up.

When the convoy returned, the rest of the Soldiers from Co. A were lining the entrance roadway, waiting for their eight pallets of holiday presents and care packages. They swarmed the trucks like bees on a honeycomb.

That night, Stover had prepared yet another special holiday meal. The Soldiers were treated to lobster tail, shrimp, crab legs and vegetables for their Christmas Eve dinner.

Yes, they were in a rough and tumble, dangerous place in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, away from family for the holidays. But the company was doing OK - they had become their own extended family.LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Pfc. Zach Hanood, a mortarman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, from Reinbeck, Iowa, carries a stack of holiday mail packages down the stairs at Combat Outpost Najil Dec. 24. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment stack boxes of holiday mail and care packages to divide out amongst the company Dec. 24 at Combat Outpost Najil. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lee Goddard, Company E, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, a truck driver from Dysard, Iowa, helps prepare Christmas dinner for the Soldiers of Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment Dec. 25 at Combat Outpost Najil. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lee Goddard, Company E, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, left, a truck driver from Dysart, Iowa, serves ham to U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Anderegg, an infantryman from Garber, Iowa, with Co. A, 1st Bn., 133rd Inf. Regt., Dec. 25 at Combat Outpost Najil. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Seth VanSteenwyck, native of Sigourney, Iowa, and a forward observer with Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, eats Christmas dinner Dec. 25 at Combat Outpost Najil. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)


Last Updated on Sunday, 26 December 2010 00:28


Related Links

Bagram Airfield

The Flood





Fallen Heroes

Language Selection

Press Releases

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.