50 graduate Fatima Girls High School

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)

Polish and US Forces bond through weapons

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)

TF Duke Soldiers volley for peace

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)

Nurgaram District leaders electrify Nangaresh schools

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)

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

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)

Female engagement teams trained to aid communication with Afghan women

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)

ANA, TF Storm break trail, make difference in Kharwar

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)

Ky. ADT II begins Panjshir sheep parasite project

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)

Engineer Soldiers deliver aid to Afghans

An Afghan carrying a child approaches U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Peter Moeller of Atkins, Iowa, a medic with Task Force Red Bulls, for humanitarian aid at Qale-Mussa Pain Middle School (click for more)

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Pfc. Robert McAlister, an aircraft electrician with the avionics section, Company D, Task Force Mountain Eagle, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Falcon, 10th Mountain Division, and a native of Pontiac, Ill., works on an airframe searchlight. The avionics section ensures the helicopters they service have working electrical, communication, navigational and night vision systems. (Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Syner, Task Force Falcon Public Affairs)

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.


BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Pfc. Jonathan Havens, an avionics and survivability equipment repairer with the avionics section, Company D, Task Force Eagle, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Falcon, 10th Mountain Division , and a native of Alpharretta, Ga., calibrates night-vision gogglesused by helicopter crew members. . The avionics section ensures the helicopters they service have working electrical, communication, radar, global positioning, and night vision systems. (Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Syner, Task Force Falcon Public Affairs)

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 April 2011 23:27


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Coalition forces engage insurgents in Kapisa

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Coalition forces killed seven insurgents in defensive operations in the Alah Say District, Kapisa Province, eastern Afghanistan, March 29.

Coalition forces and aircraft responded to an insurgent attack. Four insurgents were killed by air strike and three were killed by direct fire from coalition forces.

All rounds were reported safe and on target. There were no reports of injuries or damages to civilians in the area.

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.

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.

While conducting operations, the forces found multiple weapons caches including assorted rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, Russian rockets, materials to make homemade explosives, various other ordnances and communication equipment.  

While moving through the valley, unit leadership met with village elders to discuss the security situation and to allow them to give up insurgents still in the area.

The operation will assist the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in establishing the valley as a new district giving the Afghan people in the area freedom from the insurgency.   

President Hamid Karzai approved the creation of the additional district and hopes the new district will help improve the security of the area and support the reconstruction effort.

Mohammad Iqbal Azizi, Laghman Province governor, held a press conference March 7 announcing the establishment of a new district located in the valley.

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.