PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A shopkeeper stands by his store in the Bagram Airfield bazaar Dec. 11. The bazaar brings in more than $30,000 into the local economy on a (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A member of the AUP performs a search during an AUP-led operation with Company A, 1st Battalion, 168 Infantry Regiment in Jaji District Dec. 16. (click for more)
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Local children watch members of Kapisa PRT pass as they leave the Abdul Salam High School in Ghayn Valley Dec. 15. (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Maj. Ted A. Broome (right), and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Eleazar Vizcaino, both assigned to 358th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services, evaluate a donkey at (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Haji Sher Badir, Manogai District subgovernor, speaks during the election ceremony for the Manogai District Community Council Dec. 9. (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Key elders listen intently while the U.S. and Polish ambassadors, Musa Khan, Ghazni provincial governor, and Amina Safi Afzaly, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, speak (click for more)
U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams, veternarian from New Liberty, Iowa, supervises as an Afghan veterinarian puts final sutures into a neutered dog at a continuing education conference organized by the (click for more)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Actor and comedian Robin Williams talks with U.S. Army Maj. Gen John F. Campbell, Combined Joint Task Force 101 and Regional Command East commander, before the (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, shakes a little girl's hand during the playground dedication at Ghazni City Orphanage in Ghazni Dec. 15. (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Soldiers of the 64th Military Police Company assigned to Combat Outpost Fortress in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province have seen plenty of action since they arrived at the outpost nearly nine months ago.
Since then, the MPs have been in contact with the enemy roughly 100 times while conducting route clearance patrols and during dismounted operations with infantry elements.
Fortunately, the MPs at COP Fortress have a couple of “combat multipliers” in U.S. Army Spc. Cristine Gallagher and U.S. Army Spc. Lauren Hyman.
Gallagher, of Victorville, Calif., is a machine-launched grenade gunner. Hyman, of Texarkana, Texas, is an armored vehicle driver. They are the only female Soldiers assigned to COP Fortress.
Teammates and superiors alike praise Gallagher and Hyman’s professionalism and competence.
“Spc. Hyman and Spc. Gallagher have been complete combat multipliers. We’ve been able to do a lot of things you wouldn’t normally be able to do,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew Hagerman of Lewisville, Texas, Hyman’s and Gallagher’s squad leader. “For example, during Operation Enterprise, when searching for a female, it was a lot easier for us to get through villages having (them) with us, because we were able to go into female rooms and search...”
Another squad leader, U.S. Army Sgt. Logan Curry of Harrisburg, Ill., echoed Hagerman’s assessment of Hyman and Gallagher, though Curry did have one caveat.
“They just flat, outperform everybody sometimes; except me, of course,” Curry said with a grin.
“They’re squared away,” said Pfc. Mark Diaz of Sacramento, Calif. “They know exactly what they’re doing, and they do 110 percent all the time.”
When told about how superiors and peers lauded her and Gallagher, Hyman reacted modestly.
“You know, I feel like we’re just like anybody else,” Hyman said. “We’re just Soldiers. We do what they ask us to do and we try to get the job done. I don’t think we’re anything special from any of the guys.”
Gallagher, who has 28 confirmed enemy kills, described her combat experience in similar terms.
“I think of it as a learning experience,” Gallagher said. You’re put in a situation where you have seconds to think on something and you just have to react. I enjoy it, but it’s also something I won’t forget.”
Gallagher and Hyman both spoke of their fellow Soldiers with a respect forged under fire.
“They’re like my brothers,” Gallagher said. “I protect them and they protect me.”
“These are all my brothers,” said Hyman. “They take care of us. They treat us just like they would them.”
Diaz responded with the same sentiment.
“I consider them to be sisters because we’ve been with each other so long that you just can’t react anyway else,” he said.
Gallagher and Hyman both have dangerous jobs. A fellow Soldier with the 64th MPs, Pfc. Barbara Vieyra of Mesa, Ariz., died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked her convoy with an improvised explosive device and rocket propelled grenades Sep. 18. Hyman could not talk about her friend’s death while Gallagher shared her feelings about their fallen comrade.
“As much as you don’t want things like this to happen, it does, and you have to keep going,” Gallagher said. “I mourn her when we can, and she’s always in my thoughts, but I also go out each and every day knowing, that one day, the people who did it will get their due.”
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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.