Recent News (574)
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.- Soldiers from the Special Operations Command Central Civil Military Support Element, in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, officially transferred responsibility for a new water distribution system to the people of Sari-Chashma, Tajikistan this week.
ÂKANDAHAR, Afghanistan- The Afghan Uniformed Police and Afghan National Army partnered with C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, to conduct clearance operations in the Shah Wali Kot district, Afghanistan July 7-10.
ZHARAY DISTRICT, Afghanistan- Soldiers of 2nd Platoon, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment continue to strengthen relationships with their Afghan Uniformed Police partners by assisting with facility improvements in July.
The soldiers of 2nd Platoon completed improvements on a compound for Afghan forces located at a police station in central Azikzai.
The improved compound will assist the AUP as it prepares to assume its lead security role when coalition forces eventually depart the country. The compound they took over is in a region previously controlled by the Taliban for the past six years.
â€œWe have put blood, sweat and tears into this compound in order to make it sustainable for our Afghan counterparts,â€ said 1st Lt. Samuel C. Herbert, the platoon leader for 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 5-20th Inf.
Herbert said that when his soldiers first took over the compound, it came under attack every day and night. However, a recent engagement that resulted in two enemy casualties ended the attacks.
The soldiers from 2nd Platoon and their AUP partners had been living â€“ and workingâ€“ in the compound for more than two months while making the improvements.
With few supplies, the coalition soldiers made their compound as secure and comfortable as possible. They built guard towers and observation posts to prevent and fend off enemy attacks and also constructed a living area to house 40 soldiers.
Other improvements included: a revitalized well, a new shower facility, a Shura location, and an outdoor gym. The soldiers also tended to grape plants, a pomegranate orchard and patches of grass.
The compound doesnâ€™t have air conditioning but the residents consider the compoundâ€™s improved security a luxury they prefer over cool air.
â€œThe compound here can now serve as place where AUP and hopefully, soon, Afghan Local Police, can train and recruit,â€ Herbert said. â€œOur greatest accomplishment is having a defendable position now to project power. It shows local people the area is now safe and friendly forces hold a continued presence of force here.â€
Herbert is pleased by the battalionâ€™s progress in the area.
â€œWhat Iâ€™m proud of is we came into a virtually impenetrable IED area and cleared it out,â€ he said. â€œWe now hold this compound as a strongpoint and we are here to stay.â€
Herbert is confident conditions will continue to improve throughout the duration of the battalionâ€™s deployment.
â€œMy soldiers will continue coaching our Afghan counterparts so that they can continue to succeed after we leave,â€ Herbert said.
July 20, 2012: By Spc. Tyler Meister, 117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (Hawaii)
Redistributed by www.SupportOurTroops.org\
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan- Since arriving in Afghanistanâ€™s Paktika province, the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Divisionâ€™s female engagement teams have already conducted several missions rendering humanitarian aid to remote villages and conducting drip bucket irrigation classes.
From July 21-22, the brigadeâ€™s FETs took it one extra step by conducting an all womenâ€™s shura, the Afghan word for council, with the Director of Womenâ€™s Affairs and connecting with children at a local orphanage.
Outside the new Director of Womenâ€™s Affairs building, armed Afghan National Army guards stand providing security. The women inside risk persecution for even attending - why?
One woman spoke to U.S. soldiers through the help of an interpreter.
â€œShe is tired,â€ the interpreter said. â€œShe moved from her hometown in Bermal to save her children from the Taliban.â€
Her son was severely beaten and lost an eye for not joining the Taliban, the interpreter explained.
The women in the building were angry. Literacy, safety and a way to provide for their families were their concerns. They were tired of the violence and the Talibanâ€™s mistreatment of women in Afghanistan.
As the FET members absorbed the information the women discussed, they also built bonds within Afghanistanâ€™s most untapped resource â€“ its children.
â€œIt was a memorable experience to get a firsthand account straight from the women,â€ said Spc. Dalia Lopez, a welder and female engagement team member from the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, also known as the â€œBlack Lions.â€
â€œIt was great hearing their plans for a better future,â€ said Spc. Courtney Bryant, a logistical specialist and FET member of the Black Lions.
After two hours of camaraderie and fellowship with the Afghan women, the team was escorted back to their operating base to debrief and plan for the next dayâ€™s mission to the local orphanage.
Sharana has one orphanage that can house as many as 110 children with a budget to match. Currently inside of that orphanage are 18 children. They receive meals, an education and a place to rest their heads. Children ranging from the ages of 6 to 14 were greeted by the scarf-clad FET members with smiles, firm handshakes and the greeting of â€œmay peace be upon you,â€ in Pashtu language.
Lining the wall, the children giggled and smiled as they were taught how to make bubbles, blow crazy whistles and throw Frisbees. The director of the orphanage gathered the children in a line and gave them school supplies, hygiene kits, book bags, books and candy.
The children were so excited about their new gifts, a soccer game began in the courtyard with the FET members.
As the members geared up to leave, the children once again shook their hands and smiled. One child, so excited about the day, said the only English words he knew: â€œGood night.â€
Back at their operating base, Spc. Marella Batton, a transportation specialist and FET member said, â€œIâ€™ll do this again. These are the populations that have been totally ignored, and they need to be heard.â€
July 30, 2012: By Sgt. Gene Arnold, 4th BCT PAO, 1st Inf. Div.
Redistributed by www.SupportOurTroops.org\
ANNAPOLIS, Md. â€“ Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urged the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2011 today to embrace the power of perseverance and determination as he contrasted the failed 1980 hostage rescue attempt in Iran with last monthâ€™s successful mission that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan â€“ Two years ago, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates traveled throughout Afghanistan, promising deployed troops he would make sure they had everything they needed to accomplish their mission -- including more forward-deployed medical capabilities in the event they were wounded.
WASHINGTON â€“ Combined forces killed several Taliban fighters and detained numerous other suspected insurgents in an operation yesterday in the Dahanah-ye Ghori district of Afghanistanâ€™s Baghlan province, military officials reported.