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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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LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Brian McCarthy, right, a petroleum supply specialist from West Infield, Maine, with Company E, 310th Task Force Phoenix, in support of 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, fuels a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter at the Forward Area Refueling Point, Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, April 9. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Being an Army petroleum supply specialist, or fueler, is a bit like working at an old-time gas station.

A vehicle pulls up to the pumps, and the crew runs out to fill it up. The only difference for the Army fuelers of Company E, 310th Task Force Phoenix, is that some of the vehicles are helicopters, and they are in Afghanistan.

“Most of what we do is ground fuel for vehicles, but our priority mission is for the birds (Army helicopters),” said U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Lauilefue, a shift leader of the petroleum supply specialist team from Co. E. “We fill up Chinooks, Apaches, Kiowas, and a whole bunch of civilian birds.”

Lauilefue, from Honolulu, and his team of fellow fuelers from Fort Drum, N.Y., who run the Forward Area Refueling Point at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, in support of the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Ironman, are coming off a very busy week. They provided the fuel for every bird participating in Operation Bull Whip, which was the largest air assault mission conducted by the 101st Airborne Division during their year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

During Bull Whip, Co. E’s fuelers pumped more aircraft fuel than at any other time all year. They refuelled 40 helicopters in a single day.
“We pumped 10,000 gallons of aircraft fuel alone in one day during that mission,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Christian Grabowsi, the other shift leader for the petroleum supply specialist team from Co. E, and a native of Hinsdale, N.Y.

The fuelers usually pump around 4,000 gallons of fuel in a typical day.

On this day, April 9, the fuelers were having a fairly busy day. A couple Blackhawks came in for fuel, and the fuelers, hearing the helicopters in the distance grabbed their helmets, gloves and eye protection. They were waiting by the fuel points when the helicopters landed. As soon as the Soldiers got back to the shack and removed their gear, they had to put it back on, this time it was a team of Kiowas.

Another responsibility of the fuelers at the Mehtar Lam FARP is re-arming Kiowa helicopters with  missiles, rockets and ammunition, but do not handle Apaches.

The fuelers do what is known as a “hot” refuel, meaning they are refuelling the birds with the rotors turning and engines still on. They do this for speed, said Givian.

The fuelers do not know the situation behind the aircraft they are refuelling. While that helicopter may just be delivering some equipment from one base to another, it could also be en route to a medical evacuation or a situation with troops in contact and need to get there.

This means that time is of the essence, so the goal is to get the helicopters refuelled as quickly as possible while still being safe, said U.S. Army Sgt. Rockieve Givian, the fuel team’s non-commissioned officer-in-charge from Atlanta, Ga.

Doing this successfully is how the fuelers are able to make an impact on the battlefield, the fuelers said.

“We know that we’re a support element, but at the same time we know when birds are coming in hot that we need to get them loaded, get them moved and get them back in the fight,” said Grabowski. ”Time on ground is time lost for an infantry unit who may need them.”


LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Lemoine, left, a petroleum supply specialist from Tulari, Calif., and U.S. Army Sgt. Christian Grabowski, a shift leader for the petroleum supply specialist team from Hinsdale, N.Y., both with Company E, 310th Task Force Phoenix, in support of 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, prepare to arm an OH-58 Kiowa Warrior with a missile at the Forward Area Refueling Point, Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, April 9. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)


LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Brian McCarthy, a petroleum supply specialist from West Infield, Maine, with Company E, 310th Task Force Phoenix, in support of 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, gives the “fuel on” hand signal as he fuels a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter April 9 at the Forward Area Refueling Point at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 14:09


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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.