During the mission Soldiers captured the largest weapons cache in the district in 3 years, Fazio said. The co. was also the 1st unit in the bn to capture a foreign fighter.
“This was a great opportunity for our co. to be part of history, and to showcase our abilities and versatility in combat,” said Capt. Daniel Newman, Co. C cmdr.
During the pre-certificate speeches, Joe Woody, an MPRI instructor, said he was impressed by the students, and their eagerness to participate in the training. “I can’t think of anywhere that our students have learned faster,” said Woody. “Your warrior spirit is an inspiration to all of us.”The OCC-P commander, ANA Col. Khan, thanked the MPRI trainers and ISAF personnel in attendance. He emphasized the importance of unity and cooperation in the OCC-P, and Afghanistan as a whole. “When people work together, no enemy can defeat them,” said Rajab through an interpreter. “Panjshiris know this from our own past. We must bring peace, stability and coordination to the other provs also.” Rajab concluded by saying that the OCC-P staff and newest graduates of the training, have the responsibility of helping bring stability to all of Afghanistan.
Although the op didn't capture any militants, the cmdrs still considered it worthwhile. “The mission was an overall success because it showed everyone, friendly and enemy, that GoA’s reach is not limited by terrain and that ANSF and TF Iron can conduct ops anywhere in Paktika prov.,” Powers said. “It also solidified our ability to conduct complex combined action with ANP, and our Soldiers.”
Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts
In northern Iraq, TF Wings' "Archangel" is the personnel recovery force, hand selected to ensure that no Soldier is left behind. According to Capt. Zachary Seidel, cmdr, TF Wings' PRF, 2nd Assault Helicopter Bn, 25th Aviation Regt, 25th CAB, "Team Archangel" is designed to recover personnel on the battlefield, regardless of circumstance or environmental conditions. "We are a team of Soldiers designed to recover isolated personnel," said Capt. Seidel. "It doesn't matter whether that isolation is the result of a downed aircraft, a mechanical issue with a vehicle or helicopter, or even enemy contact. Our mission is to recover that individual or individuals." Team Archangel is an air mobile force that travels by helicopter virtually anywhere on the battlefield in U.S. Div-N. Their value is in their mobility, speed and wealth of expertise. The unit integrates aviation Soldiers from 2nd Assault Bn., with an inf "Blues" Plt from 1st Bn, 64th AR Regt, 2nd BCT, 3rd ID. According to Capt. Seidel, it's a complimentary mix perfectly suited for their unique mission set.Two of Capt. Seidel's senior leaders are 1st Lt. Stephen Bennie, plt leader, Blues Plt Assault Force, and Staff Sgt. Andrew Cornwallis, ops NCO, Team Archangel. Both agreed that the diversity of Team Archangel, and its tireless commitment to training are its greatest strengths. "The most challenging aspect of the mission from an inf assault force perspective was simply understanding how aviation operates. We anticipated the challenge, trained for aviation ops before we arrived, and we continue to train to close the gap between aviation and inf culture," explained 1st Lt. Bennie. "The combination works really well. In that sense, our greatest advantage is that we have a ton of varied experience within the unit, and a great maturity in our Soldiers," he said. "Our mission is definitely uniquely dynamic," added Staff Sgt. Cornwallis. "We must have expertise in all areas of aviation ops. That need for expertise demands that our Soldiers are diverse and that our training is continual and comprehensive.Sgt Timothy Robison and Spc. David Harrington are examples of the team's diversity. Sgt Timothy Robison is a fire support specialist from the Blues Plt, while Spc. Harrington is a medic with the aviation rescue team element. "I have previous experience working with inf units during my last deployment, and honestly thought it would be really tough integrating aviation with inf, but it's worked really well, and to get to be a part of such a high profile mission is really exceptional,"