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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

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Female engagement teams trained to aid communication with Afghan women

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NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A fire rages on Forward Operating Base Kalagush, Nuristan Province Dec. 28. The fire started when fuel was struck during a mortar attack on the base. Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman Soldiers fought the fire but lost their maintenance building in the process. The Waterloo Fire Rescue in Waterloo, Iowa, donated two fire fighting suits to the volunteer firefighters from Iowa stationed at FOB Kalagush. The suits will enable them to english a fire more quickly in the future. TF Ironman is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, TF Red Bulls of the Iowa National Guard. (Courtesy photo)NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - When a person calls a local fire department for help, the hope is firefighters respond as quickly as possible.



But no one knew the Waterloo, Iowa, fire department would respond to a fire more than 4,000 miles away.

That’s essentially what happened when the Waterloo Fire Rescue sent two fire fighting suits to Iowa National Guard Soldiers of Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, at Forward Operating Base Kalagush in eastern Afghanistan. The Soldiers fought a large fire Dec. 28, one in which no Soldiers were injured but the base’s maintenance building was destroyed.

“I expressed through my wife that we could really use some of the gear we had back home for the jobs we have to potentially do here,” said U.S. Army Capt. Garrett Gingrich, the Co. C commander who has been a Waterloo firefighter for three years. “So my fire department, who has been extremely supportive of everything I’ve done through the military, and with the department as well, without hesitation sent two full sets of turnout gear over here for us to use.”

Within two weeks of mentioning that gear would be helpful, Waterloo Fire Rescue sent two sets of turnout gear, consisting of flame-resistant overcoats and pants, gloves, hoods, and a fire helmet complete with face shield.

Gingrich, who grew up in Dysart, Iowa, said the Dec. 28 fire was a major fire, which his Soldiers, along with the help of the Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team’s security forces, extinguished. The fire was caused when fuel was struck during a mortar attack on the base. The Soldiers worked with what equipment they had – a small pump truck, water buffalos and shovels - to put out the fire. Gingrich said he can’t say for certain whether the gear would have saved the maintenance building, but it definitely would have helped.

“The gear is really important because during that fire, the heat was tremendous from the fuel,” Gingrich said. “The guys fighting the fire weren’t able to get close enough to the fire to keep it from spreading. This greatly increases our ability to get in there and attack a fire. You can get right on it, or closer to it, because you don’t feel the heat as much. There’s not as much chance you’ll get burned or catch on fire, so this gear helps to keep our Soldiers safe and helps our overall readiness.”

Larger FOBs have dedicated fire departments on base with full-time professional firefighters. At smaller locations like Kalagush, however, there are no assigned fire-fighting assets, so Soldiers have to extinguish fires themselves.

Co. C Soldiers put out three fires including the large one Dec. 28.

Two of the fires involved shipping containers set ablaze after enemy fire ignited the materials inside. The infantry Soldiers, though not firefighters by trade, responded quickly to douse the flames.

As a firefighter, Gingrich knows the risk of fire is still present on the FOB. Like bases throughout the country, many of the buildings are constructed of wood and could be ignited by lightning or any number of other factors. Thanks to the equipment donated by the Waterloo Fire Rescue, the Soldiers said they are more prepared to fight a fire should another occur.

One Soldier who will be more prepared is U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Sawyer, an infantry team leader from Davenport, Iowa. A volunteer firefighter for two years, Sawyer is also undergoing emergency medical technician paramedic training and hopes to become a professional firefighter when he returns from this deployment.

Sawyer seemed to sum up the sentiments of the Soldiers on the fire response team.

“The main thing I’d like to say is thank you,” Sawyer said. “We get a lot of stuff from people back home, and a lot of it we put to use, but this is one of the more generous gifts we’ve received that we’re going to be able to put to good use. So really, all we can say is, thank you.”NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Sawyer, an infantry team leader from Davenport, Iowa, with Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, checks out a pair of flame-resistant trousers Jan. 25 at Forward Operating Base Kalagush. The equipment, which consisted of two complete sets of turnout gear, was donated to Co. C by the Waterloo Fire Rescue in Waterloo, Iowa. The Soldiers have put out two small fires and a larger one since being in country, and the department donated the equipment for the Soldier’s increased readiness should another occur. Sawyer has served as a volunteer fire fighter in Iowa, and hopes to become a professional firefighter when he returns from this deployment. TF Ironman is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, TF Red Bulls, of the Iowa National Guard. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Jonathan Huston, an infantry gunner from Iowa Falls, Iowa, with Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, tries on a fire-resistant hood and a flame-resistant overcoat Jan. 25 at Forward Operating Base Kalagush. The Waterloo Fire Rescue in Waterloo, Iowa, donated two complete sets of turnout gear to Co. C. The company is responsible for responding to a fire should one occur on the FOB. TF Ironman is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, of the Iowa National Guard. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs Office)NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Capt. Garrett Gingrich (left) the commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, from Dysart, Iowa, helps adjust the chin strap on a fire helmet worn by U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Sawyer, an infantry team leader from Davenport, Iowa, also with Co. C, Jan. 25 at Forward Operating Base Kalagush. The equipment, which consisted of two complete sets of turnout gear, was donated to Co. C by the Waterloo Fire Rescue in Waterloo, Iowa. The Soldiers have put out two small fires and a larger one since being in country, and the department donated the equipment for the Soldier’s increased readiness should another occur. Sawyer has served as a volunteer firefighter in Iowa, and hopes to become a professional firefighter when he returns from this deployment. Gingrich is a firefighter with the Waterloo Fire Rescue. TF Ironman is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, TF Red Bulls, of the Iowa National Guard. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, TF Red Bulls Public Affairs Office)NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Cpl. Blake Jones (left) from Eldora, Iowa, and U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Sawyer from Davenport, Iowa, both infantry team leaders with Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, check out the water pump trailer Jan. 25 at Forward Operating Base Kalagush. The fire suit worn by Sawyer was donated to Co. C by the Waterloo Fire Rescue in Waterloo, Iowa. The Soldiers have put out two small fires and a larger one since being in country, and the department donated the equipment for the Soldier’s increased readiness should another occur. Sawyer has served as a volunteer firefighter in Iowa, and hopes to become a professional firefighter when he returns from this deployment. TF Ironman is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, TF Red Bulls, of the Iowa National Guard. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs Office)

 

Last Updated on Friday, 28 January 2011 01:36
 

    

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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.

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