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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LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A bomb explodes, sending shockwaves up and down a ridge in the Tengay Mountain Valley, April 10, following an insurgent attack on Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls. (Photo by U.S. Army Pvt. Kevin Barbour, Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, laughed when they heard the report of the attack.

“The report states: two tanks were hit by artillery shells and a rocket,” U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chris Brenke, 2nd platoon’s platoon sergeant from East Dubuque, Ill., read from a printout during the mission briefing April 11. “Both tanks were completely destroyed during the fighting that lasted an hour. The report also said that four American Soldiers were killed and two others wounded. I regret to inform you that four of you guys died yesterday.”

The report was from the Taliban Voice of Jihad Online, and was the Taliban’s account of what happened the day before in the Tengay Mountain Valley of the Qarghai District. The area is a site of frequent enemy ambushes.

In fact, the majority of the contact Co. D has been involved in was in the valley, which 2nd Platoon patrols. Co. D is part of the Iowa National Guard’s, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, and is stationed at nearby Forward Operating Base Xio Haq.

The Soldiers of 2nd Platoon told a very different story.

“Basically, it was a day of a lot of firsts,” Brenke said. “It was the first time they hit us in the rain, the first time they hit us with that complex of an attack and the first time from that close.”

On a quick reaction force mission, the platoon responded to a call of a burning fuel tanker, said Brenke. A common tactic of the enemy is to shoot at fuel trucks to ignite them, using the burning trucks to draw coalition forces into an ambush. That’s exactly what happened April 10.

When the platoon’s convoy entered a narrow stretch of highway surrounded by steep cliffs on both sides about 15 miles west of their base, the attack began, said Brenke. Then insurgents launched a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades from the cliff to the south.

“There was about 15 minutes of solid contact, pretty intense fighting,” said Brenke. “The RPGs were close. We were firing back with the .50 cal, and they kept fighting. They weren’t stopping.”

Two of the RPGs struck the middle vehicle, where company commander U.S. Army Capt. Jared Gevock, from Dubuque, Iowa, sat, serving as truck commander. Fortunately, the RPG protective nets on the outside of the vehicles dispersed the grenade blasts, and no Soldiers were injured in the attack.

In fact, the up-armoured mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle suffered battle damage, but was driven back to base. Several other vehicles also suffered bullet holes or chips to their armour, and will need to be repaired, but all were able to return to the base.

When the enemy attacked, first with RPGs, then with machine gun fire, the first four vehicles in the convoy pushed through the ambush. They then returned to assist occupants of the final vehicle, who was under heavy contact. The platoon fought back with .50-caliber machine guns, laying heavy fire and pinning down the enemy in their fighting positions on top of the mountain.

At this time, the enemy started attacking with small arms fire from the cliffs across the road to the north.

“That was pretty smart on their part,” Brenke said. “They were pinned down to the south, so the ambushers across the road started attacking us.”

U.S. Army Pfc. Joel Mason, a gunner from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, spotted one of the attackers to the north and engaged him, ending the ambush from that side.

“After receiving small arms fire from the south, I saw one of the attackers engage us from the north,” Mason said. “We took contact from them, I got positive identification on one of the attackers, confirmed there were no friendly forces in the area, and took him out with the .50 cal.”

U.S. Army Spc. Dale Heiser, a crow gunner with 2nd Platoon, from Davenport, Iowa, who witnessed Mason’s shot through his crew remote-operated weapon optics system.

The platoon continued to lay down heavy suppressive fire on the ambushers to the south, keeping constant eyes on six individuals on the mountainside. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Peter Harder, a forward observer from Huxler, Iowa, called in an air strike on the ambushers.

U.S. forces dropped three bombs, the last one dead on target, according to the platoon, ending the conflict. When all was said and done, three American vehicles suffered repairable battle damage, no American forces were injured and seven insurgent fighters were eliminated, which differed significantly from the Taliban repLAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chris Brenke (left), the platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, laughs April 11, after reading an inaccurate report, by the Taliban concerning an ambush on his platoon's convoy the previous day. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)rt.LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Thomas Egger (left), from Coggin, Iowa, and U.S. Army Pfc. Alex Good, from Fort Dodge, Iowa, both infantry Soldiers with 2nd Platoon, Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, look at a 7.62 milimeter round, that was lodged in one of the platoon's vehicles, at Forward Operating Base Xio Haq, April 11. The platoon fought through an ambush by insurgent forces the day before. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)


Last Updated on Sunday, 17 April 2011 00:56


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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.