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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Tucked away in the southern Hindu Kush Mountains sits small Forward Operating Base Kalagush. Commanded by U.S. Army Capt. Garrett Gingrich, Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, part of 34th Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Red Bulls, Kalagush is the last U.S.-run forward operating base in Nuristan Province.
“We are a fairly secure base at the moment,” said Gingrich of Waterloo, Iowa. “The winter makes it difficult for the insurgents to move around. We expect the insurgency to increase come spring.”
In order to help reduce that insurgency, Gingrich said they will continue to work with the locals to build a trusting relationship so they understand that Co. C is there to help them.
Along with Co. C, there are other components on the base, including the newest addition, a team from Co. C, 334th Brigade Support Battalion, known as Charlie Med, which is also a part of Task Force Red Bulls.
“The base is made up of our infantry company and platoons from active-duty U.S. Army field artillery and military police units,” Gingrich said. “The provincial reconstruction team that has been serving here is currently on the way out, and they ran the medical clinic on our base. We are very glad to get an element of Charlie Med. Without them it would severely limit our ability to run missions in this area”
Until last month, the five-person medical team was providing level 2 medical services at Camp Phoenix in the capital city of Kabul. The majority of Charlie Med relocated to Bagram Airfield to establish a level 1-plus medical treatment facility and assist the 334th BSB with convoy support and base operations.
“It is always really sad to leave your best friends behind,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Beswick, senior medic and native of Coralville, Iowa. “There was a little extra anxiety finding out that you are heading to a tiny FOB at the end of the world. We knew little about it except we had heard it had been hit before by insurgents. Our nervousness and anxiety were outweighed by the excitement of taking on a new challenge.”
It was a hard transition for the team at first. They joined a treatment facility made up of medical personnel from the Navy and Air Force run by the Nuristan PRT.
“Our systems were very different,” explained U.S. Army Sgt. Rachel Hecht, a combat medic from Merrill, Iowa. “We had to learn to mesh with the PRT unit and the infantry company. Infantry units are known to be tight-knit organizations. Their medics train and fight alongside of them. It was hard to come in and say ‘here we are, trust us.’”
The main mission of Charlie Med is to run sick-call operations on the base.
“We mainly see U.S. and Afghan Soldiers. We most commonly see young Soldiers with musculoskeletal injuries, due to the heavy equipment they carry while on patrols,” explained U.S. Army Capt. Barbara Krugler, the Charlie Med physician assistant and an Adel, Iowa, resident. “We also see contractors and Afghan day workers. The current medical rules of engagement only allow us to see local (Afghans to save) life, limb and eyesight. This is difficult because we do not want to turn anyone away.”
“A small girl came in with burns over 50 percent of her body,” said Beswick. “She had been treated locally but was in extreme pain. We removed the dry dressings, treated the burns and redressed her wounds. She fell asleep after and her father said it was the first time she slept in over four days.”
After U.S. Army medics treat local nationals, they refer them to local hospitals for follow-up treatment.
“We have no idea if they will follow up with the local doctors or not,” explained Beswick. “The nearest hospital here is in Kabul. Locals in Nuristan prefer to go to Pakistan and work with Pashtu doctors. We can only hope they continue to get treatment.”
The Charlie Med team, serving in Kalagush, finished their transfer with the Nuristan PRT recently and established a level 1 medical treatment facility. They also established good relationships with the contractors, day workers and local shop keepers surrounding the base. Like Gingrich and the infantrymen of Co. C, 1st Bn., 133rd Inf. Regt., Charlie Med is preparing for the challenges they will face when spring comes to the Hindu Kush.
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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Coalition forces killed seven insurgents in defensive operations in the Alah Say District, Kapisa Province, eastern Afghanistan, March 29.
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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.
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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.