PAKTIKA PROVINCE – It was an unusually cool evening on FOB Sharana – perfect for a run. With the cool weather and a fresh rain, the Hood to Coast Satellite Run kicked off Aug. 26. The relay was run in conjunction with the Oregon Annual Hood to Coast 197-mile run, which extends from Mount Hood located in the northern region of Oregon, to the Pacific Ocean, specifically Seaside, Ore. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the relay race, also known as “The Mother of All Relays.”“We did this for the challenge and unique opportunity,” said Team Warrior’s captain, 2nd Lt. Ray Jones. “This was a good way for us to connect to our home state, while deployed to Afghanistan.” Teams comprised mainly of Oregon NG soldiers were Teams Warrior and Oregon, led by 2nd Lt. Ray Jones and Capt. Daniel Faust. The Hood to Coast is the largest relay in the world and for the past 4 years, 360 Physical Therapy has sponsored deployed Oregon NG with shirts and gear for the relay. Maj. Russell Gibson ran on a team comprised mainly of runners who ran the legs of the race in Oregon, while Gibson ran as a shadow runner in Afghanistan. There was a live hand-off via satellite phone to the runners in Oregon, as Gibson finished his legs. “This has been a great event,” said Maj. Gibson. “It’s pretty exciting to be able to run this event with the folks back home.” The 1249th Engr. Bn. is HQ in Salem, Ore. with soldiers from its HQ and forward support companies, currently deployed to Afghanistan.
TF Gridley Soldier, 1st Lt. Maribel Ortega leads supporters on bicycles, during her 2nd leg.
TF Gridley, 1249th Soldier, Maj. Russell Gibson, finishes his 2nd leg.
TF Gridley Soldier, Master Sgt. Debbie O’Donnell tags TF Sword, Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Kathryn Werback after finishing her 2nd leg.
TF Gridley Soldier Sgt. Thomas Starr, sports a shirt for a nonprofit foundation organized in memory of a young boy who died of cerebral palsy.
TF Gridley Soldier and Team Warrior team captain, 2nd Lt. Ray Jones, sprints to the finish line of his 2nd leg.
The mission the afternoon of Aug. 15 for Ackley and Khowst PRT CA officer-in-charge 1st Lt. Andrew Docksey, was to conduct engagements with the elders and citizens of Majies Village.
Soldiers from 1st Plt., 1st Bn., 26th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, 1st ID, TF Duke; and the ANA, pushed out at 2:30 p.m. to carry out their task. After more than 3 hours of engaging the locals, the team returned to their vehicles for the ride back to their HQ at COP Sabari. However, before they reached the vehicles, 2 grenades were lobbed over a nearby wall, one bouncing off the radio telephone operator’s back, and the other landing 20 feet from Ackley.
The team scattered and took up defensive positions. After the grenades exploded, the team started to take small arms fire from an unseen enemy. During the fire fight, Ackley said he was struck by shrapnel. Ignoring the pain, he aided the team in securing the area, enabling the wounded to find cover in a nearby house.
“The infantry training many of us had gone through really came into play,” said Docksey. “We knew to move right away, and what to do when recovering.” Once they secured their defensive perimeter, Ackley jumped in to help the combat medic in treating the wounded, which included 2 Soldiers and a civilian reporter.
One of the Soldiers had shrapnel wounds all over his back, legs and feet, according to Ackley. “He got the brunt of the blast from the grenade,” Ackley said.
The attackers fled into the hills after the attack. After taking stock of the situation, the team decided to convoy back to COP Sabari, and receive medical treatment there. After initial assessment and treatment, Ackley was airlifted to a facility able to provide a higher level of care. “I pretty much got stripped naked and thrown onto the helicopter, with an emergency blanket, so my butt was to the wind,” he said.
Ackley said that he never thought twice about providing aid, while ignoring his own medical needs. “I did my job as a medic,” Ackley said. “I could still walk, although it hurt to bend down and move; other people needed medical attention, and I was capable helping the doc out, so I did.”
Docksey was especially impressed with Ackley’s actions. “What Sgt. Ackely did to ignore his own wounds to help others, showed he was focused on helping the other guys,” he said. “He kept doing what he could do to help out; not focusing on his pain, till everybody else had been helped.”
After hours of slowly advancing labor, the local hospital had been unable to find movement from the baby. Diagnosing that the baby had died, they requested assistance from the doctors at FOB Orgun-E.“Honestly, it was very scary,” said Lt. Col. Stan Zagorski, surgeon with the 2nd FST. “I haven’t performed this procedure, since I was an intern. Then to have the baby start kicking as we opened her up, we were all overjoyed.”“Delivering a baby by C-section is not typically what the FST is trained to do,” Zagorski continued. “Fortunately all the team members were able to contribute from their experience, and both mom and baby will be going home healthy and happy.”Happiness at the new arrival of baby Rusiz Khan permeated the air of the small clinic and was evident on the faces of both the medical personnel and the family. As grandma Khan tended to mother and baby, Rosu Khan’s young sister, Jelah, was busy folding clothes and new baby blankets. “When I first told her it was a baby boy,” said Spc. Jessica Rush, advanced trauma life support medic, with the 2nd FST, “she made this funny little face. I think she was hoping for a niece.” With a new package of toys, Jelah received her own pleasant surprise to take home with her, besides her unexpected nephew.“It's so great; just the other day we received a package of handmade receiving blankets from our Soldier’s Angels sponsor, Laura Garrity,” said Rush. “We’ve already used them all for this little guy, so I’ll have to ask her to send more.”“The items we receive from Soldier’s Angels, and our sponsors back home, really help us to better provide for the Afghans, beyond what we're prepared to do medically,” Rush said.
Sgt. Billy Hill, a cable systems installer and maintainer with TF Duke, who also serves as his company retention officer, traveled from FOB Salerno, for the training. “We learned basic info to qualify a Soldier for re-enlistment, how to counsel Soldiers on re-enlistment options, how to compute a Soldier’s bonus, and career progression.” said Hill.Hill said his job is to support the bn. career counsellor, and keep his command team informed of who is in their reenlistment window, as well as reenlistment statistics. He said this training was important, because he must be knowledgeable in order to give the right info to Soldiers, so that they could make informed decisions about their career, especially with the Army starting to downsize.
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Helmand province -- He comes from a small town in the Buckeye State. He had no real direction growing up, and spent most of his days drawing and playing his 6-string guitar, until a simple decision to take a trip to a recruiter’s office, changed his life forever.Jago said he remembers just wanting a change of pace, some structure in his life, and joined the Marine Corps. “Do I feel like I made the right choice? Of course; I mean why else would I still be here 10 years later,” said Jago with a smile. “I like the different people you meet, and the different people you get to mentor, like young Marines.” The 29-year-old spent his first four years as an infantryman serving with 3rd Bn, 2nd Marine Regt, 2nd MarDiv, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He said he learned many of his leadership skills through 3 deployments with the unit.His experience as a Betio Bastard, the unit’s nickname, took him from storming the beaches of Okinawa, Japan, in training exercises, to aiding in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2004. Jago said he thought 4 years of hard work and complete dedication to his fellow Marines was enough, and wanted to try something different.He departed from the Marine Corps, and took a full-time job as an injection molder, feeding plastic from a hopper into a heated barrel to mold it into a solid product, like keyboards for computers, football helmets, and other products. It took him 2 years to realize how much he really missed being an active duty Marine.“I just missed being around Marines,” explained Jago. “I missed being that small unit leader, and really getting to know the Marines around me on a personal level, and just being a part of the Marine Corps atmosphere again.”Shortly after rejoining the Corps in 2007, he attended the Inf. Squad Leader Course, where he learned to apply his leadership to a squad — a team of 12 Marines directed by the squad leader. Jago said it was his refresher course before deploying for a 2nd tour to Iraq in 2008.
Jago said that making the transition from serving in an inf. co. for 8 years, to joining a supporting HQ in which a majority of the Marines were not infantrymen, was a challenge for him initially. However, Master Sgt. Chad McKee said he disagrees and believes Jago has done nothing but good things for the div.“He was brought up in the Corps with a certain leadership style and certain philosophy, and it’s 100% all the time until the job gets done,” said McKee, the ops chief for the Ops Section, 2nd MarDiv (Fwd). McKee also said that it was Jago’s enthusiasm and dependability as a hard-charging sgt. that placed him above the rest of his peers. “I know that if I need something done and I tell him to do it, it gets done,” added McKee. “He’s by far easily ready for the next rank of staff sgt.”Jago said that he knows he's out of his comfort zone in the supporting division HQ, but hopes to one day return to the life of an infantry Marine in a company. Until then, he said that he does his best everyday, until the job is done. “I pride myself on producing results, and if I’m given a task, I get it done,” said Jago. “Until my job here is done, I’m going to do my best.”
Sgt. Jago is entrusted with keeping track of millions of dollars worth of gear and equipment used on a daily basis, in the combat ops center, for the div.
SouthKANDAHAR PROVINCE -- In Zharay District, an Afghan and coalition combined SecFor detained a Taliban facilitator and 2 of his assocs., during a security op, yesterday. The facilitator was responsible for acquiring and moving weapons, and also financed Taliban ops in the district. HELMAND PROVINCE -- An Afghan and coalition combined SecFor detained multiple suspected insurgents, during a security op targeting a Taliban facilitator in Nad Ali District, yesterday. The leader coordinates the movement of weapons and roadside bomb materials in the region. East
KABUL – A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor killed more than 10 insurgents and detained another 9 during separate, overnight searches targeting a Haqqani Network attack cell in eastern Afghanistan. The targets of the searches were several Haqqani facilitators responsible for planning an imminent attack on Kabul city, under direction from Haqqani leaders based in Pakistan. Tips from local citizens indicated the insurgents’ locations, and that they were organizing the attack to happen in the next few weeks.NANGARHAR PROVINCE -- A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor killed 2 insurgents, while searching for a Taliban leader in Khugyani District, during an overnight op. As the force conducted the search, it was threatened and engaged by insurgents, who were killed. LOGAR PROVINCE -- The original target of this op was the Taliban-appointed deputy governing official for ops in Azrah District. As a senior leader, he directs attacks against ANSF, and facilitates suicide bomb attacks in the region.
Ministry of Interior IFP perform a riot control demo, in the Civil Disorder Mgt. (CDM) course, at Camp Dublin, Aug 20.
BAGHDAD – One hundred IP graduated from the CDM course at Camp Dublin, Victory Base Complex, Aug. 23. Instructed by IP officers and mentored by the NATO Training Mission - Iraq (NTM-I), Carabinieri, Italy’s paramilitary training unit, the federal police trainees learn methods of crowd and riot control.
“The CDM course is one of the first courses that the IP arranged themselves,” said Col. Sergio Di Rosalia, cmdr. of the NTM- I Italian Carabinieri unit. “The Carabinieri’s operational emphasis is on mentoring the training.”In a demo of the skills acquired during the 4-week training, a troop of police travel tightly as an element - shields held high, batons banging in unison, creating a wall against the mock civil uprising ahead. As the crowd’s demeanor grows more violent, the armed, mounted unit moves forward to provide apprehension and brings the riot to an end. Out of breath from exertion in the extreme heat of the mid-day sun, the trainees congratulate each other on the well-executed movement. “We're getting better at reacting together,” said one of the trainees, satisfied with the progress of his plt. "The police trainees learn how to use riot-control equipment, and how to work as an element," said Lt. Augusto Sorvillo, cmdr. of the Italian Carabinieri tactical training plt. “Only if there is a violent reaction from a crowd, do they practice an escalation of force,” said Sorvillo. "The IP are trained to communicate and negotiate first, and determine whether more force is necessary," Sorvillo said. They're taught ground movement for the purpose of controlling a crowd, to prevent a riot from occurring. During this time of transition the frequency of civil unrest may increase. However, Iraq’s effort to maintain stability is increased, due to graduates of this course. The CDM course helps IP protect civilian’s lives from being disrupted negatively, and will continue to be offered at Camp Dublin.
IFP perform a riot control demo.