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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from Echo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment run to refit, refuel and rearm an AH-64 Apache helicopter assigned to Task Force Lighthorse at the Camp Wright Forward Armament and Refueling Point, Jan. 18. The FARP Soldiers are responsible for fueling and arming helicopters supporting battlespace owners and maneuver elements within Task Force Mountain Warrior's area of operations. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian Boisvert, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs) KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Soldiers of Echo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment form a small unit charged with a big job in Kunar province.

They serve as the Camp Wright Forward Armament and Refueling Point, responsible for fueling and arming helicopters, supporting battle space owners and maneuver elements within Task Force Mountain Warrior’s area of operations.

The unit of approximately a dozen soldiers has a simple motto that sums up what the FARP soldiers bring to the overall effort in Afghanistan.

“Our motto is ‘make mission happen.’ That’s it; that’s all we do,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Quentin Colbert, FARP non-commissioned officer-in-charge. “No matter what the situation is or the terrain we’re in, we make the mission happen. We refuel all the military and contract helicopters, and support the ground elements on all of (Forward Operating Base) Wright with fuel for the generators and vehicles. No one gets to the fight without us. You’ve got to have that fuel and ammo.” 

According to Colbert, the FARP can and does pump as much aviation fuel as operations require. His unit also rearms helicopters providing close air support to ground troops who are in contact with insurgents.

“These pumps can push out 350 gallons per minute. So, we could pump nearly 100,000 gallons in a day if that is what was need,” said Colbert, a native of Roberta, Ga. “We also load munitions for the Kiowa and Apache aircraft, including rockets, Hellfire missiles, illumination rounds and .50 caliber and 30 mm munitions. We support any and all aircraft that stop at this FARP. If you need fuel, we’ll give you fuel. If you need ammunition, we’ll give you ammunition.”

Colbert said the FARP runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deliver support to the warfighters because “the war doesn’t take a day off.”

Because it is a small unit, each Soldier must rely on the other to help get the mission done.

U.S. Army Sgt. Alexander Valentin, a native of Oxford, N.C., said that while it may not seem like the FARP has a direct hand in a fire fight, the unit does makes an impact.

“You might not think you are supporting the people on the ground, but you are. When they call for fire and those helicopters come, it’s like a saving grace,” Valentin said. “When they see them flying overhead to save them, we know it’s because we refuelled and rearmed them and got them back in the fight as fast as we could.”

On Jan. 18, the FARP soldiers demonstrated their mission to perfection. A mounted patrol in Task Force Rock’s area of operations took small arms fire and soon called for close air support. 

From the flight line at Camp Wright, the FARP soldiers watched AH-64 Apache helicopters from Task Force Lighthorse deliver lethal munitions and provide over watch to the ground assault convoy. After hovering in the air, the Apaches called the FARP and made a quick descent to refuel and rearm and get back into the fight.

The FARP soldiers moved with precision and purpose, and within minutes the helicopters were back in the air doing their mission. 

U.S. Army Spc. Frank Joseph, from Savannah, Ga., said that being a fuel and munitions specialist requires stamina and a keen eye for safety.

“I love my job, it can’t be any better. My mission is to make sure all those birds have fuel and ammo,” said Joseph, who was born in Haiti and grew up there and in Jamaica. “It doesn’t matter your (Military Occupational Specialty), we help each other out. You have to be careful and think safety first, but its fun and a good workout. Without us, the mission doesn’t get done. Whatever they ask, we work to get it done. That’s our job, 24-7.”

The Echo Troop, 3-17 CAV also conducts FARP operations at Camp Blessing in Kunar Province and FOB Fenty in Nangarhar province.

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from Echo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment unload a temporary fuel bladder at the Camp Wright Forward Armament and Refueling Point, Jan. 18. The FARP soldiers are responsible for fueling and arming helicopters supporting battlespace owners and maneuver elements within Task Force Mountain Warrior's area of operations. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian Boisvert, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs) KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Nick Trakas from Barker, N.Y., performs maintenance on a fuel pump generator at the Camp Wright Forward Armament and Refuelling Point, Jan. 18. Trakas is a member of Echo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment. The FARP soldiers are responsible for fueling and arming helicopters supporting battlespace owners and maneuver elements within Task Force Mountain Warrior's area of operations. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian Boisvert, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)

 

 

    

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