“It's very important to have women in the Army,” Dugast said. “It’s a way to involve women in their society. It’s very symbolic. It’s very important to show women can do the same as the men.”The women in OCS feel it’s an honor and their duty to serve their country. “80% of my family is in the ANA,” said Khatera Ayoupur, FOCS trainee. “I always wanted to be a part of the ANA, and am so proud to wear this uniform. I am 100% ready to help my country; I love my country and our people.”After the first class graduates, the barracks will relocate to Kabul Military Training Center, where a designated facility is already being renovated in order to accommodate up to 150 women. “My hope for the future is that lots of females come into the ANA,” Defense Minister Wardak said. “I hope you'll do a good job for them in Kabul, and for all of Afghanistan. I'm happy you're serving your country, and are coming into the Army. “As the first course, this is a good example for other females,” he said.
The result was heartwarming. “Hi mom,” David said, waving on camera to his mom and the crowd. Other PRT members were sitting in the background, holding their breath.
David’s mom was stunned to see her son on a large screen at the “Hoedown for Heroes” event, and she had a hard time finding words. They spoke about the food at FOB Ghazni, to which he replied, “We’re either up or we’re down.” That comment brought a laugh from the crowd and PRT members.
The reunion between mother and son was a memorable sight to see, since David’s younger brother, Daniel, had died at age 28 in a helicopter crash, with 15 other soldiers in Fallujah, 7 years ago. The Chinook that was shot down Nov. 2, 2003, was carrying Fort Carson troops home from Iraq on leave.The brothers were very close. “Most brothers and sisters tend to fight a little bit, but not Dan and me. We grew up pretty tight. We were both Army Brats too,” David said, using the term to describe children who grow up with a parent in the military. In this case, it was their father. Daniel’s sacrifice for his country left behind a wife, daughter, mother, father and a brother. Staff Sgt. David Bader at the time met with former President George W. Bush in a private meeting with the families who lost a loved one in the Nov. 2 helicopter crash. David recalled finding out about his brother’s death, staying positive despite the tragedy.
“Even though it sucked that my brother died, a lot of cool things happened,” he said. He was able to meet former President Bush, and received tickets to a Corn Husker’s football game at the University of Nebraska, since he grew up there and moved to Colorado later. At the game, there was a tribute to his brother Daniel and other Nebraska soldiers who had died in Iraq. Daniel’s wife received a photo of Dale Earnhardt, autographed by his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., from Dale Earnhardt, Inc., because Daniel loved NASCAR. “There was a lot of cool things that happened, but I would trade all those things in to get Dan back; don’t get me wrong,” David said.
In the aftermath of the incident, EOD Soldiers found and disposed of the suicide vests. Two Afghan Security Guards were wounded during the attack ,and an Afghan civilian employed at the base was killed. No CF were killed or injured.
The op is still ongoing with CF pursuing the remainder of the attacking force, estimated to be around 20.
The target was a Taliban cmdr., and IED attack planner, who operates in and around the Kabul area. He's responsible for planning and coordination of numerous attacks on Afghan and CF.
By Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace
Story and photo by Spc. Raymond Quintanilla
"While the dog's senses such as hearing, smell and sight may be ten times greater than that of humans, canines also provide a good visual deterrent," Steele said. "When we respond to a crowd scene and they see Ricky's size," Steele said, "they back off. He provides a psychological deterrent."
Steele said the handler must stay focused, because the dogs mirror their handler's mental state. "We like to say 'it runs down the leash'. If I was having a bad day, he senses it," Steele said. "A couple of weeks ago I found out my house dog passed away. I was upset.
That night, Ricky laid in bed with me. He would not leave my side," Steele said. These canines begin their military service as pups. They go through basic and advanced training, and continue throughout their entire service life with proficiency training until retirement. Each qualified dog must be available for duty worldwide, just like Soldiers.
Steele said he would like people back home to think more about the dogs as Soldiers. "I know people back home focus on us Soldiers on their 4th or 5th deployment," Steele said. "Ricky's on his 2nd, and is only 5. He'll probably have 1 or 2 more. He might see Afghanistan. We Soldiers obviously go through a lot. The dogs go through a lot, too," said Steele.
This is Aiana’s 1st deployment; her father’s 1st deployment was with the 1st AR Div. in 2003. Aiana said that when her father 1st deployed to Iraq in July, she knew she wanted him to be the one to promote her. “It’s a huge deal,” Aiana said with regard to her father promoting her. “It means a lot to me to be serving under the same div. as my dad. This is my 1st promotion, and it was an honor.” Romeo said that he was very proud to have the chance to promote his daughter, and that the Army Values helped him raise his daughter. “I can apply it to my kids on how to be successful in life and how to discipline yourself,” he said. Even though father and daughter are in the same division, they're not in the same location. Aiana is stationed at Camp Liberty, and Romeo is stationed farther west, at Camp Ramadi. Romeo was at Camp Liberty for a maintenance course and was fortunate enough to have the dates coincide with his daughter’s promotion. On this day, it was the Romeo’s turn to promote his daughter. Next year, Aiana will return the favor by promoting her father to chief warrant officer 2.