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)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan—Where would a helicopter pilot be without navigational aids, or the ability to determine whether those nearby are friend or foe?
Fortunately for pilots, the avionics team with Task Force Mountain Eagle, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade10th Mountain Division,, keeps systems including electrical, navigation aids, identification, night vision, global positioning and communication systems running.
“We service over 170 aircraft,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Stodola, an avionics noncommissioned officer from Iowa City, Iowa. “We keep everything from the lights to the radar running.”
The avionics team is responsible for the maintenance of several different systems across four different aircraft; the OH-58 Kiowa, AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Blackhawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
One section of the team is devoted to working on just a Kiowa-specific part, a removable computer of sorts that communicates with all the other parts of the helicopter.
U.S. Army Spc. William Monroe, of Toronto, is an Integrated Family of Test Equipment operator/maintainer and sums up the device as, “the brains of the helicopter.”
The team is also responsible for the maintenance of night vision capabilities on the aircraft.
“We have to service (night-vision goggles) at least every six months,” said Stodola, “We usually see them long before that, though.”
The goggles used by aviators are different from NVGs used by ground troops, and require different methods for repairing them.
“The NVGs we repair are made to be used with the (pilot) helmets,” Stodola said.
The team’s mission keeps them busy, especially since they must be ready to respond to a grounded aircraft at a moment’s notice.
“If a helicopter is stuck on the airfield and due to perform a mission, we have to scramble to either fix the issue or replace the part,” Stodola said.
The avionics crew keeps extra components on hand to replace malfunctioning equipment, allowing missions to continue as scheduled. The old equipment will be serviced and kept on hand for when it is needed next.
In addition to the last-minute reactionary work, the team is responsible for regularly scheduled maintenance.
“I’d guess that we’ve performed something like 800 service orders,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Adrian Garib, an electrical systems noncommissioned officer, and a native of Queens, N.Y.
“We keep the birds in the air,” said Stodola.
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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.
|ANSF, ISAF begin major operation in Laghman valley|
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.
|ANSF, TF Bastogne continue operations in Kunar|
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and coalition troops from Task Force Bastogne continued operations in the Shigal District March 18 after clearing the village of Lawsin and the surrounding area.
|Afghan leaders, coalition forces look forward|
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.