LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Capt. Jason Merchant, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman from Dysart, Iowa, hands out cards Dec. (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lauren Hyman of Texarkana, Texas, armored vehicle driver for the 64th Military Police Company based at Combat Oupost Fortress, says hello to an (click for more)
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich, an infantry officer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Task Force Ironman, draws a smile from an Afghan boy as Gingrich (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Brian Stowe, a human resources specialist from Elkmont, Ala., with Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sings a ballad he wrote and (click for more)
PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and French military chiefs conduct a briefing before deployment during a security operation. Afghan National Security Forces and French Task Force Richelieu conducted Operation Montevideo (click for more)
PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan family looks at their new family member after she was delivered by the Polish Army medical team at Forward Operating Base Warrior Jan. 3. (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, maneuver through Sabari District during patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in the (click for more)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)
Well, the mine detection dogs and handlers from the 49th Mine Dog Detachment, 54th Engineer Battalion, Task Force Dolch, based at Bagram Airfield, know that better than most. These highly trained animals are used to help Soldiers on the ground find some of the most elusive enemies in theater - landmines and improvised explosive devices.
The 49th MDD, attached to TF Dolch for their deployment to Afghanistan, consists of only a handful of Soldiers who are responsible for conducting clearance operations alongside multiple route clearance patrols and many other missions that TF Dolch Sappers execute. Sappers are elite Ranger-like combat engineers who work with demolitions.
The dogs are tested regularly to ensure they can maintain the high find rates required of their job. Using actual land mines and munitions found around Bagram that coalition explosive ordnance detachment members rendered inert, the handlers built training lanes designed to help keep their companions mission ready at all times.
“We have anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines (and) anti-personnel landmines that are used as boosters for anti-tank mines, hand grenades, artillery rounds and everything in between,” said U.S. Army Sgt. John Bornhoff of the 49th MDD and resident of North Prairie, Wis.
There are 10 training and testing lanes, which are one meter wide by 10 meters long each. Bricks divide the lanes, and random ordnances are buried throughout.
“The dogs will key on even the slightest explosive scent that, (when) combined with a visual signature, will give the dog more than it needs to know that something is there,” said Bornhoff.
The presence of the MDD gives the Soldiers of TF Dolch a bit more confidence and a nice morale boost.
“Just being able to be around the dogs makes the morale of the Soldiers that much better,” said U.S. Army Chaplain (Capt.) William Robinson Jr., chaplain for the 54th Engr. Bn., TF Dolch, and native of Youngstown, Ohio.
The MDD is a great asset for TF Dolch Soldiers to remove at least some of the unexploded ordnance and IED threats military personnel and local civilians face in Afghanistan.
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|Afghan forces, TF Bastogne continue operations in Sherzad District|
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Bastogne, continued operations in the Sherzad District Jan. 8 clearing the village of Toto of insurgent fighters to reinforce a foundation of security in the area.
|TF Iron eliminates insurgent IED team|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers form Task Force Iron Rakkasan and members of the Afghan Uniformed police, using the Precision Threat Detection System blimp at Forward Operating Base Andar, identified a group of insurgents with weapons and explosives Jan. 3.
|TF Iron Rakkasan uses PTDS to prevent highway robbery|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Recently, Soldiers from Task Force Iron Rakkasan watched a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police conduct an illegal checkpoint on the route between Ghazni and Sharana. Using the camera system on the Persistent Threat Detection System, Soldiers observed a man standing in the road collecting money from vehicles. The practice is common by insurgents who fund their attacks by taking money from locals.
|Joint operation helps clear Sherzad of insurgent activity|
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from Task Force Bastogne began operations in the Sherzad District Dec. 23.