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)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Pennsylvania Army National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters Stability-Transition Team, also known as the Normandy Tactical Command Post, recently welcomed in the new year at Forward Operating Base Lightning.
The primary mission of the transition team is to advise Afghan security forces, particularly the Afghan National Army’s 203rd Thunder Corps. They advise everyone from the commanding general to Afghan engineers.
U.S. Army Col. James F. Chisholm IV, of Elizabeth, Pa., is the senior advisor at Normandy TAC. He is building on the legacy left by members of the Indiana Stability Transition Team his unit replaced in October.
Chisholm noted the progress his predecessors made with the ANA and seeks to repeat their success as he partners with not only the ANA, but with the Afghan Uniformed Police and the Afghan Border Police.
Chisholm sees partnership with the AUP and the ABP as the key to a successful future. He predicts Afghan security forces will eventually partner with each other, and the need for the International Security Assistance Force will diminish.
Chisholm said he is hopeful, but realistic about the difficulty of the road ahead.
“Afghan forces have the same issues integrating with each other that American forces do,” he said. “We have to break down organizational stereotypes.”
One way the transition team breaks down walls and combats organizational stereotypes is through their work with the Operational Coordination Center, Regional located at FOB Lightning’s sister base FOB Thunder.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kevin Miller of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., noted the central role of the OCC-R.
“We have a broad vision for increasing the capabilities of Afghan security forces, particularly through the OCC-R,” Miller said.
The ability of transition team members to work with Afghan security forces is by design. The team was built from the ground up by handpicking staff members from the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Not all servicemembers serving with the transition team come from Pennsylvania, but the FOB has a certain Pennsylvanian flavor. Steelers fans and their memorabilia are abundant.
Chisholm, Miller and the senior-enlisted advisor, U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Ron Maraffi of Slippery Rock, Pa., all attended the same high school. Interestingly, Chisholm (who is now senior in rank) is the youngest of the group.
Though not a member of the guard, the commander of FOB Lightning’s operations company, U.S. Army Capt. Scott Frederick, is from York, Pa.
Frederick’s leadership was instrumental in the transition team’s response to a December suicide attack. He spoke frankly about how the attack affected his Soldiers’ relationship with their ANA counterparts.
“The attack tested our partnership, but the ANA took ownership of the (security) problem and our relationship is stronger because of it,” said Frederick.
Despite the brutality of the Taliban’s attack, it seems to have rallied both Afghan and transition team members against a common threat.
With their resolve hardened and a clear vision for the future, transition team members appear determined to strengthen their partnership with Afghan security forces and bring greater stability to eastern Afghanistan.
|< Prev||Next >|
|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.