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)
U.S. Army Pfc. Ira B. Laningham IV was a 22-year-old Zapata, Texas, native assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment’s Task Force Storm, when he was killed during a complex attack using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire while on a patrol to detain suspected terrorists.
U.S. Army Sgt. Wallace Trahan of Prairieville, La., said he remembers the day Laningham came to his squad and immediately became Trahan’s driver.
“Day one, night fall, Spc. (Thomas) Servias (of Gross Pointe Woods, Mich.) and I began playing the ‘movie game’ and Ira wanted in saying, ‘Oh, I watch movies all the time,’” recalled Trahan. “As it turns out, he knew maybe three actors, causing us to tag him ‘worst movie game player ever’... It became a constant source of whole-hearted laughter for us, because he would never give up. He always wanted to play. Ira was persistent and loved a challenge.”
U.S. Army Spc. James Wartes of Albany, Ore., said Laningham was one of the funniest guys he ever met. Wartes would always be happier, or just be smiling, after spending only a few minutes with Laningham, who loved to quote movies and could make anyone laugh, he said.
“His laugh will be missed. One major memory I have of him is me cutting his hair and halfway through, as I was changing out tips, he thought I was done got up and said, ‘Thanks,’” said Wartes. “At the very moment I was going to say, ‘I’m not done,’ everyone looked at his halfway done haircut and just busted up laughing.”
U.S. Army Spc. James Hairston of Blairs, Va., said Laningham was one of the best friends he has ever had and reminded Hairston of himself. Laningham would go to Hairston when he had a problem. Hairston said he could confide in Laningham the same way, and they would often just sit and talk for hours, he said.
Among Hairston’s fondest memories of “Ben”, Laningham’s nickname, is the time he took Laningham and his soon-to-be wife Stephanie, “Steff,” to a justice of the peace to be married.
“Steff set in the back seat of my car and broke the seal to the door. I was a little mad but things happen,” said Hairston. “Ben told me that he would fix it when we got back home. On our way ... we stopped at the shoppette. I was pumping gas and Ben went to get something to drink.
“So when he went to get in the front seat of the car, he broke the front seal - two in one day; I was mad, but Ben and Steff laughed so hard I couldn’t help but laugh too,” continued Hairston. “I forgave him at that moment. At the justice of the peace, I sat watching Ben and Steff say their ‘I dos.’ I have never in my life seen two people so happy. He will be missed by many.”
Laningham’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal with Star Device, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and Parachutist Badge.
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|TF Iron Rakkasan radio connects GIRoA to people in Miri|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Afghan government and 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, are expanding their reach with a second Radio in a Box station at the Miri District Center in Andar Province.
|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.