How one man makes a difference in Afghanistan

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Ghouse Loynab, human terrain analyst with Human Terrain Team, TF Red Bulls, takes notes as he talks to a villager about governance and development issues Feb. (click for more)

Guardians of Peace produces results in Paktya

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clint Koerperich of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, squad leader for 2nd Platoon, Company C., 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, patrols with ANA soldiers (click for more)

Working together to put Afghan heroes back together again

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Gheiratullah, an Afghan medical soldier, practices self aid and buddy care at the Paktya Regional Medical Center Feb. 13. (click for more)

Bidder’s conference places Afghans in control

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Crystal Sims (right), from Duncan, Okla., a project manager for the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team, assists an Afghan with registering at the bidder’s (click for more)

Panjshir women strengthen communication skills

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ashlee Lolkus, TF Red Bulls, shows Rohubza Dousti, a trainer and supervisor at the United Nations Habitat and a Panjshir youth group (click for more)

Ghazni PRT assesses village, builds relationships

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Ghazni PRT members walk among the locals engaging in conversation during a village assessment in Touheed Abad in Ghazni Province Feb. 6. (click for more)

Iowa ADT inks deal for orchard training farm

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Haji Hazrat Ali Gull, a fruit producer, explains improvements he already made to a proposed orchard training farm site he owns to U.S. Army Master Sgt. (click for more)

Co. A makes successful return to Shebatkyl

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A team of Kiowa helicopters provide overhead security for U.S. Army Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, and Afghan National Army Soldiers from (click for more)

Delegation conducts market outreach mission in Zormat

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Mohammad Masood, Paktya Agricultural Department advisor, and U.S. Army Col. Robert Roshell, 2-45 Agribusiness Development Team commander from Lawton, Okla., examine spices during a mission to (click for more)

Kunar PRT medics help healing at Asadabad Hospital

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Lynn Redman of San Antonio, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team nurse practitioner, examines a female Afghan patient with Afghan Dr. Ismat Shinwary, Asadabad (click for more)

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NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Members of Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team participate in mine resistant ambush-protected vehicle egress training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., Aug. 23. Much of the training received by the Nangarhar PRT members at Camp Atterbury proved valuable during their overnight stay outside the wire Feb. 16 in Nangarhar. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Casey Osborne, PRT Nangarhar public affairs)NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – It started off like any other mission. Members of Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team were heading out to perform quality assurance checks on four sites in the Khogyani District Feb. 16. They finished three objectives and were heading for the fourth when the trip quickly took an unexpected turn.



“One of the trucks got stuck at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” said U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. James Elliott, Nangarhar PRT civil engineer and mission commander from Richburg, S.C.

While attempting to back up the mine resistant ambush-protected vehicle, the truck’s front left wheel went off the road and hung suspended over a steep slope.

“You could step on the side of the road and the loose dirt would crumble under the weight of your own feet,” said Elliott. “We figured a 35,000 pound MRAP would not fare well on that.”

What followed was an overnight stay outside the wire, a situation few units care for. Fortunately, Nangarhar PRT received training prior to the deployment that helped prepare them for the situation.

Prior to their deployment, the PRT underwent two months of combat skills training at Camp Atterbury, Ind.

The first action the team took was clearing everyone from the vehicle before it had a chance to slip, said U.S. Army Sgt. David Tyo, Nangarhar PRT infantryman from Pepperell, Mass.

While at Camp Atterbury, everyone attended MRAP egress training. The training demonstrates how to evacuate a vehicle on its side or upside down. Luckily for the team, their MRAP hadn’t flipped.

Once everyone was out of the danger zone, the unit’s infantrymen began setting up security, said U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Billy Smith, Nangarhar PRT senior enlisted advisor from Blythewood, S.C.

“Hell, they dug in like ticks on a dog up on the hills,” Smith commented. “They took rocks and pretty much made their own little fighting positions out of the resources they had.”

After calling for reinforcements to help get them out, the team settled in for the long haul, said Elliott. Unfortunately, the extra unit wouldn’t arrive until the middle of the night leaving the PRT to fend for itself for the better part of a day.

The team was prepared for this contingency as well, once again thanks to training received at Camp Atterbury. During training, they participated in an exercise that involved setting their trucks up in the middle of a field and repelling attacks from mock insurgents. This forced the team to consider concepts often overlooked, such as how to institute a rest plan while maintaining 24-hour operations.

“During the patrol base exercise we did, a lot of us, including myself, were complaining about it, saying ‘This isn’t really realistic, when will we ever do this,’” Elliott said. “Well, it happened last night. We got in a situation where we had to use it. We automatically fell back to the training at Atterbury where everyone has to throw on their night vision goggles, work shifts and pull security for an area during night time to hold security until we could continue with the mission.”

“Our Soldiers reverted to training, to scan their sector and just keep an eye out for anything suspicious and really just did their jobs,” said Tyo.

Smith was particularly pleased with the outside-the-box thinking some of his junior service members provided.

“The guys were helping out the leadership,” said Smith. “‘Before we move that vehicle, maybe we should prepare a nine-line medical evacuation card.’ That came from a pfc. ‘Hey, maybe we should have (the Nangarhar PRT medic) down here just in case the truck flips.’ That came from a private. ‘The guys are freezing on top of the hill. Maybe we should use the space blankets from the hypothermia kits, because we don’t have anything else.’ That came from a senior airman.”

Around midnight, a team from Task Force Panther arrived on scene to assist the PRT, said U.S. Army 1st Lt. John Palmer, 3rd Platoon, Bayonet Troop platoon leader from Berkley, Mich. The team integrated with the PRT’s security force while they helped free the truck.

The truck was recovered at about 2:45 a.m., said Palmer. To avoid trying to move in the night and possibly getting the truck stuck again, the combined PRT/task force team bedded down for the night. They left for their respective home bases at 6:30 a.m. without further incident.

“This incident highlights the team mentality of members of TF Panther and other coalition forces in western Nangarhar,” Palmer said. “The Nangarhar PRT patrol was helping to build schools and other projects in our area of operations that are very important to continuing to win the support of the local nationals and improving their quality of life.”NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Members of Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team asses a stuck mine resistant ambush-protected vehicle during a mission to Khogyani District Feb. 16. Since the vehicle wasn't recovered until 2:45 a.m. the following morning, members of the PRT and a team from Task Force Panther spent the night outside the wire. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Billy Smith, PRT Nangarhar senior enlisted advisor)

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 February 2011 01:31
 

    

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The security and safety of Afghan civilians is an important part of every coalition operation. All weapons caches found during these operations are destroyed to ensure they do not harm civilians or military personnel.

“Mines are indiscriminate killers. They don’t distinguish between Soldiers or civilians, between men, women or children. We must all work together to eliminate the threat posed by these deadly weapons,” said U.S. Army Col. Ben Corell, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls.

If you see any suspicious activity or know of a weapons cache in your area, please report it. Call the Operations Coordination Center Provincial Tip Line at 079-662-0193 or at 079-397-0975.