Four Soldiers, Sailor secure safe passage in Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace CJTF-101 Public Affairs   
Friday, 17 October 2008

081004_A_8733W_709.jpgBAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Oct. 4, 2008) — “Stay alert and stay vigilant,” shouted a chiseled-face Soldier during a pre-convoy briefing at Camp Eggers, Afghanistan, today.

Staff Sgt. Carlos Padilla was one of five service members charged with securing the safe passage of troops from Camp Eggers to Bagram Air Field.

Like the fingers on a hand, each member of the five-man team is paramount to today’s mission, said Padilla, who proudly ferries troops across perilous Afghan roads.

Moments later, Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Curiel, ordered his three subordinate Soldiers and their individually-augmented shipmate, into their respective positions, loaded the passengers aboard an armored bus known simply as ‘the Rhino,’ and set off on their journey from Kabul to BAF.

Driving the Rhino was Petty Officer 2nd Class Matt Hildebrand of Tallmadge, Ohio. New Orleans-native Padilla rode ‘shotgun’ and served as the vigilant eyes and ears of the Rhino.

Meanwhile, the convoy commander, Curiel, rallied Staff Sgts. Ruben Rosas and Eddy Rosales to provide security and blocking positions during the trip.

“We’ve got to be watchful and ready to act at all times,” said Curiel, who explained that an ever-present threat of vehicle borne IEDs and other threats exist from anti-Afghan forces on the road.

Curiel’s team is a hinge pin to allow service members ground transportation between the bustling missions of Combined Joint Task Force-101, headquartered at BAF, and at the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.

Despite the vitality of their mission, not a single member of Curiel’s team is a transportation service member by military occupational specialty.

Curiel, Padilla, Rosas and Rosales all proudly proclaimed their “11B” roots, or that they are all Army infantrymen. Hildebrand, on the other hand, said while back in the fleet, he is normally an administrative specialist on the U.S.S. Boxer in San Diego.

Still, the infantry Soldiers and administrative Sailor take their job of security and troop transport very seriously, they said. They know well that they cradle the lives of many service members in their arms on each trip they make.

“We know we’ve got to keep everyone alive and nothing else matters out here except that,” said Curiel. “We drive aggressively, stay vigilant and keep watch over each other.”

Bringing everyone to their destination unscathed and breathing is the mission, it’s that simple, he explained.

BAF serves as command and control for Coalition forces in the region, as well as the largest hub for air operations, while CSTC-A prides themselves in their efforts to plan, program and implement reforms in order to develop a stable Afghanistan, strengthen the rule of law, and deter and defeat terrorism within the country.

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