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Pvt. Mike McLaughlin and Army Staff Sgt. Jason Roberts, infantrymen attached to Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team, take a break in the shade after a 6 kilometer patrol through a rice paddy during a multi-day operation Aug. 21 in Alingar District, Laghman province. The PRT, combined with assets from the 45th Infantry Brigade, conducted a cordon and search in a village thought to be home to IED makers and Taliban fighters.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Constantinidis, Khost Provincial Reconstruction Team corpsman, secures a landing zone for a UH-60 Blackhawk during an air-assault extraction in Spera district of Khost province, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2009. Members of the Khost PRT visited the Spera district governor to assess progress being made within the district.
U.S. Air Force pararescuemen, assigned to the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, wait on board a CH-47F Chinook flown by members of the U.S. Army’s Task Force Brawler, to takeoff to conduct a site survey and communications test flight from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 21, 2018. The Army crews and Air Force Guardian Angel teams conducted the exercise to build teamwork and procedures as they provide joint personnel recovery capability, aiding in the delivery of decisive airpower for U.S. Central Command. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook)
Members of the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing in Kabul, Afghanistan, gather to commemorate Memorial Day May 28, 2018. The day serves to honor military members currently serving and those that have died while in military service. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials with the U.S. flag usually flying at half-staff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jared J. Duhon)
Soldiers from Task Force Stalwart, which is compromised of Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, pose for a group photo, March 28, 2018, in a post in the outskirts of Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jamine L. Flowers/2nd IBCT UPAR)
KANDAHAR, Afghan. – After more than a month in country, the Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment “Red Warriors,” 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, have a steady routine for ground defense area patrols, here.
The Red Warriors are part of Train, Advise and Assist Command- South.
The mission for TAAC-South, which is composed of Soldiers of the 40th Infantry Division, California National Guard and 2nd IBCT, 4th Inf. Div., is to train and advise Afghan security forces and assist in counterterrorism operations.
“Our mission is to deter (improvised explosive devices), indirect fire and engage with key leaders of villages we encounter,” said Sgt. 1st Class Vicente Martinez, platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, Company D, 1st Bn., 12th Inf. Reg. “In a way we provide a bubble of safety for the rest of the Soldiers on (Kandahar Airfield).”
Martinez, a Las Vegas, Nevada native, has served as an infantryman for 15 years.
“Teamwork is extremely important in these types of missions,” Martinez said. “Things can escalate very quickly, so it’s important to know each Soldier and their mannerisms so you can tell when they are getting frustrated or emotional.”
However, Martinez said the success of the mission comes before even arriving in country.
“We conducted team, squad, platoon and up to battalion level exercises (while on Fort Carson) to prepare our Soldiers for the different missions we would encounter,” explained Martinez. “These guys trained hard in the states and now they are able to put all that hard work into motion.”
For many of the Soldiers in first platoon this is nothing new.
“I was part of (Company C), 1st Bn., 12th Inf. Reg. in Bagram during my first deployment,” said Spc. Joshua Ledvina, a team leader with 1st Platoon, Co. D, 1st Bn., 12th Inf. Reg. “We did a very similar mission then and I try to be helpful to our inexperienced Soldiers as much as I can.”
The Toledo, Iowa native said that as a team leader it is important for him and his Soldiers to have everything prepared for missions.
“Immediately following the mission brief I go out with my guys to prepare the vehicles and make sure we have all the supplies we need,” said Ledvina. “Ammo, water and ensuring your weapon is clean and ready is crucial because these guys are out here putting their lives on the line.”
Seeing younger Soldiers like Ledvina take initiative of tasks, such as restocking, is what makes leaders most proud, according to Martinez.
“The goal is to make our younger (Soldiers) feel empowered that they can make the right decisions during any situation,” said Martinez. “I won’t be able to be with these guys forever, so I need them to prepare to take over my spot when the time comes.”
With Martinez on deployment number seven, he said he enjoys being able to perform his duties as an infantrymen.
“If we can keep one IED or rocket from firing and potentially hurting a Soldier it’s all worth it,” said Martinez.
Story by Staff Sgt. Neysa Canfield.
Afghan Mi-17 pilots take a first look at the cockpit of an Afghan Air Force UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter Oct. 2, 2017, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The UH-60 is part of the AAF modernization program and the latest addition to its growing fleet. Mi-17 pilots are the first to train on the new weapons system and are expected to jump-start the new platform, which will eventually replace the Mi-17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)
U.S. Marine Col. Matthew Grosz, the Task Force Southwest senior adviser to the 215th Corps, talks about how to ensure success during and after Operation Maiwand 10 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Dec. 26, 2017. Task Force Southwest is advising and assisting the 1st Brigade as they clear southern Marjah as part of the Maiwand 10 mission. This is a joint operation with maneuver elements from the Afghan National Army, National Directorate of Security and Afghan National Police forces. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
U.S. Army Soldiers with Alpha Company, 2-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, fire an 81mm mortar in support of the Afghan National Army during operation Maiwand 10 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Dec. 26, 2017. The Soldiers fired multiple illumination rounds in order to light a nearby area of Marjah where the ANA experienced a nighttime ambush. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
The Task Force Marauder medical evacuation (medevac) company participated in a mass casualty exercise with the Role 3 hospital, Dec. 23, 2017, in Afghanistan to practice and refine procedures in the event of a real-world emergency. Detachment 1, Charlie Company, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), MEDEVAC, Iowa National Guard, with Task Force Marauder partnered with the hospital, base emergency medical services, Polish special forces, U.S. Air Force security forces, and U.S. Army 82nd Airborne service members for the exercise. C Co., 2-211th GSAB (MEDEVAC) provided aerial transportation and en route medical care for simulated casualties before transporting the patients to the hospital for follow-on care. The purpose of the exercise was to test current practices and communication in a controlled environment. Task Force Marauder consists of Soldiers from South Carolina National Guard, Illinois National Guard, Iowa National Guard, as well as active duty component and provides aviation capabilities with AH-64 Apaches, UH-60 Black Hawks, CH-47 Chinooks, and medevac assets in Afghanistan under the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade while deployed. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Jessica Donnelly, Task Force Marauder)
U.S. Army Soldiers with Task Force Marauder’s Bravo Company, 238th General Support Aviation Battalion, from the Illinois and South Carolina National Guard, transport personnel and supplies between locations in Afghanistan Dec. 1, 2017. Task Force Marauder consists of Soldiers from South Carolina National Guard, Illinois National Guard, Iowa National Guard, as well as active duty component and provides aviation capabilities with AH-64 Apaches, UH-60 Black Hawks, CH-47 Chinooks, and medevac assets in Afghanistan under the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade while deployed. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Jessica Donnelly, Task Force Marauder)