A New Day, a New Partnership in Afghanistan
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - As the sun rises on Forward Operating Base Lightning, silhouettes of trucks and Soldiers are seen preparing a convoy for a resupply mission throughout Paktya Province.
As the darkness gives way to the light, Afghan National Army Soldiers with their Coalition counterparts emerge from the silhouettes and greet the approaching day with a sense of urgency, purpose and teamwork not only appropriate for a new day in Afghanistan, but also for the long mission ahead.
Regional Logistics Support Command-Southeast distribution company conducted a partnership resupply convoy with Fox Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Spartan.
Since Fox Company is already doing resupply missions, it makes sense to pair RLSC-SE up with Fox Company to improve the tactics, techniques and procedures of their combat logistics patrols, said U.S. Army Capt. Randal Myers, a native of Columbus, Kan., and the senior mentor for RLSC-SE.
Soldiers from the RLSC-SE distribution company took part in Fox Company's predawn mission brief, mission rehearsals, pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections before setting out on a resupply mission to Combat Outpost Zormat and COP Rahmen Kheyl.
"We want to learn something from this training. We have a very good mentorship with Capt. Myers and the NTMA [NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.] We are very happy to be working with Coalition Forces. I expect my Soldiers to learn how to conduct a proper convoy, run the missions and resupply the brigades. I want my Soldiers to be strong in front of the enemy," said ANA Col. Dur Muhammad, RLSC-SE Commander.
Any free time during the resupply mission was spent training.
"We received training on vehicle maintenance, IED [improvised explosive device] reaction, security, towing a broke vehicle, first aid and air support. When Coalition Forces leave Afghanistan, it's going to be our job to do these things. We are learning the best possible ways to do them," said ANA Sgt. 1st Class Syed Mugtaba, a truck driver with RLSC-SE distribution company.
An after action review was conducted at each stop along the route allowing ANA leadership and Soldiers an opportunity to ask questions and further learn.
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Kenneth Hood, the senior noncommissioned officer mentor for the RLSC-SE, reflected on the partnership after an AAR conducted during a scheduled stop at FOB Gardez.
"The RLSC-SE commander is taking charge, briefing his lieutenants on what they should be doing and how they should be doing it," said Hood, a native of Columbus, Ohio. "I believe this is a good start for RLSC-SE, this is one of the first partnership convoys done in awhile. This partnership is going to make this part of the region better during the spring offensive."
This is the first partnered mission between Fox Company and the RLSC-SE distribution company, but it's something that the Fox Company commander intends on continuing.
"I actually sought them out; I knew there was a logistical unit on FOB Thunder. Our infantry brothers are partnered with ANA infantry units, I just think its smart that we partner with the ANA logistic units as well," said U.S. Army Capt. Ryan Steuer, commander of Fox Co., 3rd Bn., 509th Inf. Regt., TF Spartan.
"[ANA Soldiers] responded well, it seemed like they loved being part of our convoy. From what I understand today was supposed to be their day off but they had their heads held high the entire time. Enthusiastic and excited," said Steuer, a native of Miamisburg, Ohio.
A final AAR was conducted in which a certificate was presented to Col. Muhammed, who in turn expressed his gratitude to all the U.S. Soldiers present who participated in the day's mission.
Afterwards, ANA Sgt. 1st Class Mulaoolah Jan, a maintenance sergeant with RLSC-SE distribution company, reflected on the day's events.
"For four years I have been serving my country in the [Afghan] Army. I was in a combat kandak, now I am in a combat logistics kandak and this was my first time in a supply convoy. It was a good experience, I enjoyed it," said Jan.
"We have done a lot of missions and have had some problems. Today we have learned a lot of things that will improve our own convoys, and we will get better and better. We have learned how to prepare a convoy, how to tow a damaged truck, how to react to IED's, and how to run a convoy," said Jan. "Some of our Soldiers are new, they didn't know the techniques of a proper convoy and they have learned a lot today."
As the sun began to set on the day and Soldiers started to load into their respective trucks for the final leg of the mission, Jan concluded, "We have the responsibilities to resupply five provinces and Gardez. We do not have any problems handling attacks and ambushes; it's the discovering of IED's that cause us problems. All of today's training was very useful, thank you to the Coalition Forces. Our partnership is a good partnership."
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Afghan National Army Soldiers from the Regional Logistics Support Command-Southeast distribution company and U.S Soldiers.
Photo: Sgt. Richard D. Sherba, 11th Public Affairs Detachment
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