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)
* Editor’s note – This is a three-part series that follows the activities of one platoon. About 30 Soldiers, deployed to the remote Combat Outpost Najil, during Operation Promethium Puma, March 26 to April 2. Puma was the ground portion of Operation Bull Whip. In Part One, they air assaulted into the Galuch Valley and found their first large cache of the operation. In Part Two, they continued their mission in the valley, enduring rough conditions.
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Though the U.S. Army Soldiers would be in the field for three more days, March 30, day five, was the last and most substantial day of Operation Promethium Puma for 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman.
With the help from the Afghan National Army soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 201st ANA Infantry Corps, March 30 produced what the Soldiers referred to as “The mother lode,” -- the largest caches found during the entire operation.
The 2nd Plt., a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, separated into two squads, with one searching the eastern side of the Hind Dor Valley, Afghanistan, and the other searching the western side.
During the mission, the platoon hiked mountain after mountain in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. They spent days searching in holes, crevices, caves, rock walls, bushes, ditches, freshly-dug dirt or any number of other hiding places without finding anything, but March 30 would be a different story.
The ANA found the first of eight caches that day in a tree.
“After that, every 10 minutes it seemed like we found something else,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Anderegg, a squad leader from Osterdock, Iowa.
At the end of a very long day, the explosive ordnance disposal team, tasked with destroying the enemy munitions and other material found during the operation, had several duffel bags full of cached items. Even the duffel bags themselves, those of American Soldiers, were found hidden in the houses on the ridge outside Hind Dor. That afternoon, the team laid all the items out on the ground near the platoon’s patrol base.
The Soldiers and their ANA counterparts, had found two grenades, hundreds of AK-47 rounds and Pulemyot Kalishnikova machine gun ammunition, gunpowder, 170-milimeter rocket warheads, four 75 mm shells, three Chinese rocket rounds, 12 anti-personnel land mines, six blocks of opium, three U.S. Army combat uniform trousers, five Army duffel bags, three sling-load bags, four British .303 rifles with clips and ammunition, a rocket-launching tube system, as well as various other items.
The platoon found one more cache during the mission, also in a house outside Hind Dor. This cache, though smaller, contained evidence of a homemade explosives lab. There was 150-pounds of illegal fertilizer, military equipment, propellant, gunpowder and other homemade explosives materials, as well as several photos of suspected insurgents holding automatic weapons.
The Soldiers left the Galuch Valley, April 2, after eight days of searching and sweeping. With each day of the mission, the platoon acquired additional pieces of plastic and other material from air drops, and used each piece to improve their sleeping areas. The platoon dug holes, made makeshift tents, and waterproofed their sleeping areas as best they could. They nicknamed the areas “shanty towns.”
At night, some Soldiers, with no real access to hot meals other than through the heaters in their meals ready-to-eat, bought food from local farmers. They enjoyed traditional Afghan meals such as goat soup, salted potatoes in sauce, pan bread, and of course Chai tea.
The Soldiers said though they found a large amount of caches in the area, most of the main weapons systems they were looking for remained hidden. A security presence will remain in the area through the implementation of ANA and Afghan Civil Order Police at the new joint security center which had been established after the shura farther south in the Galuch Valley, March 31.
From the standpoint of putting a “footprint” in the valley, the platoon said they accomplished the mission.
“We definitely did that,” said Anderegg. “We opened the door for the possibility of security in the area. From that standpoint, the mission was a success.”
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