Combat Camera: Currahee Troops Search for Weapons in Eastern Afghanistan
Dispatches from the Front:
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, Nov. 20, 2008 -- In the early stages of winter in Afghanistan, creeks begin to freeze as the temperature continues to drop. Everything and everyone seems to slow down and hibernate for the cold weather. The soldiers with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, won’t hibernate this winter.
Early, before the sunrise on Nov. 12, many of these soldiers arose to feel the air crisp in their lungs as they prepared to set out on a foot patrol, while others loaded up in vehicles to patrol local villages.
The combined operation consisted of U.S. soldiers, Afghan national army soldiers and Afghan national police who searched mountainsides and local villages for weapons caches suspected to be hidden deep within the mountains of Paktika province, Afghanistan.
“The [combined] operations work much better now than they did in the past,” said 1st Sgt. Darrin Yuhn, Embedded Training Team command sergeant major and mentor to the 203rd Kandak. “The Afghan forces are a lot more involved with the planning of operations.”
Whether it is a routine patrol or a weapons cache search, U.S. and Afghan forces are increasingly working together to halt the violence that has haunted Afghanistan for over 30 years.
“Our mission changes every day,” said Spc. Walter Hresent, a radio transmitter operator in Alpha Company, 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. Regt. “We get all kinds of intelligence and we go from there.”
This particular search was for RPG’s and small-arms munitions. The search location was relatively close to Combat Out Post Zirok.
After a short convoy through a run-off canal the vehicles came to halt near a small village.
“We disrupt the insurgent’s operations in the area by doing patrols,” said Hresent, who goes on nearly every patrol out of COP Zirok. “They do not like us being out there but its working. We have not been attacked in a while,” he added.
The group of soldiers split into two groups after hearing that there were two possible caches located. One was supposedly located near the village and the other was about an hour’s walk over and around mountains.
The Afghan soldiers went first into the mountains. After a half-hour of walking, the ANA realized that the cache was not where they thought. The patrol continued into another small village where villagers were questioned about the whereabouts of the weapons.
After talking with the locals about the location of the suspected weapons cache, the soldiers headed back to base. Although the cache was not found, soldiers maintained that the patrol still had positive effects on the area.
“Most of the patrols we do are us moving out to the different areas, making our presence known and interacting with the locals,” said 1st Lt. Dan Huff, the executive officer for Alpha Company. “We show the people that we are not scared of the insurgents and that we are here to help them.”
(Report by Sgt. Zach Otto, Combined Joint Task Force 101.)
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