Belgian F-16 detachment nears 5,000 flights at Kandahar Airfield
releases flares near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Operation Guardian Falcon,
which arrived at KAF in September 2008, expects to reach its landmark 5,000th
flight and 15,000th hour later this month. (Photo courtesy of Operation Guardian
Falcon) Sgt. Antony Lee
Story by: Sgt. Maj. Danny Tielens Operation Guardian Falcon
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – In September 2008, Operation Guardian Falcon arrived at Kandahar province to support the International Security Assistance Force as the first Belgian detachment at Kandahar Airfield.
At the time, OGF consisted of six F-16s and about 120 military personnel.
Today, five years later, a total of 16 detachments – 1,938 Belgian soldiers – have deployed to KAF and almost 4,900 flights have been conducted with a total of about 14,800 flight hours. Operation Guardian Falcon expects to reach its landmark 5,000th flight and 15,000th hour later this month.
JCAT engages Afghanistan, through faith
ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan- While soldiers of Combined Task Force Duke assist and train the various political and military officials within the Zabul Province, the Jordanian Cultural Advisory Team assists by engaging the populace through their faith.
The JCAT engages the Afghan National Army and civilians through their mullahs, or religious leaders, providing insight on the Islamic religion.
During the past 11 months, Col. Alkhrissat Zeyad, JCAT commander, and his team have worked with International Security Assistance Forces, encouraging the people to stand up and build up Afghanistan for their future.
Military working dog helps protect service members
Story by Sgt. Antony Lee
working together since February 2013 and both have been in Afghanistan since July. Their job is to clear routes, compounds, rooms and open areas of explosives. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Antony S. Lee)
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – After Tali, a military working dog, cleared a room at the Joint Regional Afghan National Police Center ahead of a meeting, he waited in the hallway with his handler, Air Force Staff Sgt. Kellie Peterson.
Naturally, soldiers in the area were drawn to Tali. Some briefly petted him while others asked Peterson about him. One Afghan National Army soldier took a photo of him with his phone.
Tali, a 4-year-old German shepherd, is a patrol and explosives military working dog. His job is to
clear routes, compounds, rooms and open areas by sniffing for and detecting the presence of explosive odors.
Afghan forces take back Sangin
Story by Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces launched the final stage of a clearing operation recently in Helmand province’s Sangin District to deter returning insurgents.
An estimated 700 insurgents have been operating in and around Sangin since May, according to
local Afghan security forces. The district is an important hub for the insurgency in southern Afghanistan.
“Sangin used to be a major center of drug trafficking in the past,” said district Gov. Habibullah Shamlanai. “And the enemy has a lot to gain by controlling the district. Sangin has been a constant
battle ever since Afghan security forces confronted the insurgency here.”
Foreign Taliban fighters displaced many families, said Shamlanai. Also, insurgents attacked Afghan Local Police positions along the Sangin River, overrunning four security checkpoints.
“They are trying to have their way in the district,” the governor said. “Though we have suffered many casualties, our forces will continue to fight back until we completely defeat the enemy.”
US Theater Engineer Brigade continues Afghan mission under new command
departure plan, Sept. 28, as the unit prepares to return home after nine months serving as the U.S. Theater Engineer Brigade. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Spencer Garrison, 555th Engineer Brigade Public Affairs)
Story by Capt. Spencer Garrison BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — “In every sense, this is a legacy built to last,” said Col. Nicholas Katers, as he reflected on his unit’s mission in Afghanistan.
It’s a mission complete for the team he commands from the 555th Engineer Brigade Headquarters – they’re now heading home to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
For the past nine months, the 555th has served as Joint Task Force Triple Nickel, leading a 5,000-strong U.S. Theater Engineer Brigade supporting NATO’s International Security Assistance Force throughout Afghanistan.
Coalition forces looked to JTF Triple Nickel for a critical triad of engineering needs, including training Afghan National Army engineer units, construction and deconstruction projects, and removal of enemy roadside bombs along key roadways.
455 AEW receives AF meritorious unit award
Story by Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelett KABUL, Afghanistan - The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing was recently awarded the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award to recognize the organization for outstanding achievement in direct support of combat operations during July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013.
The MUA is given to active duty, Reserve and Guard units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding achievement in direct support of combat operations for at least
90 continuous days during the period of military operations against an armed enemy of the United States on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion of Merit. Superior performance of normal mission will not alone justify award of the MUA.
Guam Guardsmen alter missions in northern Afghanistan Story by Sgt. Edward Siguenza
Sgt. Edward Siguenza CAMP SPANN, Afghanistan -- Forward Operating Base Kunduz was a place Sgt. 1st Class Celso Leonen called home for almost half a year. FOB Kunduz housed about two dozen Alpha Company soldiers, and in return they ran nearly 80 missions supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Leonen's security forces platoon of Alpha Company soldiers from 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army
National Guard, occupied a small sector of the FOB and operated throughout the German area of responsibility.
As of mid-September, FOB Kunduz is a practically barren flat area of land. Leonen's group were forced to leave the compound in late August and were reunited with their Alpha brothers and sisters at Camp Spann, which is roughly a eight-hour convoy trip away.
This is good news. This demonstrates action as part of President Obama's plan to withdraw U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The exodus entails the shutting down of FOBs, camps and other U.S.-occupied facilities. FOB Kunduz is one of several in Regional Command-North that'll be turned over to Afghan National Security control later this year.