“The bullet pierced his larynx without touching artery or vertebra,” said Master Cpl. Michael. “Suddenly, while we were evacuating him to what was supposed to be the helicopter landing zone, he fell unconscious.” Their position was under insurgent fire a few minutes before, and the threat of enemy coming back was real; the medical evacuation helicopter meant for the wounded French trooper couldn't land. The decision the American medevac team from 3rd Bn, 82nd CAB made, hovering over Hill 2470, weighed risk against the life of the French private. Staff Sgt. Erin Gipson, a flight medic from Ohio, with TF Poseidon, attached herself to the UH-60 Blackhawk’s external winch and began the descent to the mountain’s slope. “Surprises always come in small packages,” laughed Maj. Graham Bundy, from N.C., Gipson’s company cmdr. As Kevin regained consciousness, he saw Gipson come down from the sky and lift him to safety. He whispered later that she looked like an angel to him. The French Soldier is considered a lucky man. With help from the U.S. flight medics, he was immediately flown to a Coalition hospital in Kabul, where a specialist began surgery. He's now able to eat and speak. “This is an amazing story; almost too good to be true, but there it is,” said French Col. Jean d’heur, cmdr. of French Battle Group 15/2. For her part in the rescue, Col. Jean d’heur, along with Kevin’s company cmdr., plt. leader, and Master Cpl. Michael, presented Gipson with a letter of commendation in a small ceremony, Oct. 28, on Bagram. For the French Soldiers of TF La Fayette, Gipson has become their combat angel.
“The women learned the ‘cold, clean’ method,” DeLuna said. “They’d never heard to clean with cold, clean water, and were using alternative methods to treat wounds.” The women shared stories about their previous home-medical treatments during the shura. “I’ve used cold potatoes on my children’s wounds to stop the burning,” one student said. “Potatoes and egg yolk both help to prevent the burn from spreading.”Along with the training, the group also received first-aid medical kits stocked with bandages, a gauze compress, gloves, antibiotic ointment and other supplies. The shura was coordinated through Khalema Khazan, the Paktya Director of Women’s Affairs DOWA, and the Team Paktya Women’s Advocacy Group. The DOWA is an Afghan ministry-appointed position, with the authority and obligation to raise awareness of concerns, and advocate for Afghan women. “I want a common understanding for every woman to know their rights and freedoms under Islam,” Khazan said. “We have shuras in the Women’s Development Center for Paktya women, to teach them important skills.” In the past, Khazan has organized town meetings, or ‘shuras,’ health workshops and media engagements for women in Paktya. “Education is very important,” she added. “Our center is focused on teaching the more than 40,000 women in Paktya.”
The group of civilians, Afghan, and CF along with their interpreters, passed dozens of merchants at the bazaar, a collection of permanent storefronts and makeshift sales stands. Archuleta stated that their mission to Mehtar Lam is the first of many, and will give civil affairs a clearer picture of economic conditions in the area.Laghman prov. is known as a regional agricultural center, with lush river valleys, long growing season, and an economy heavily supported by farming . The market boasts a wide variety of local produce, ranging from bananas to sugarcane. Many merchants sold industrial products, wooden furniture and textiles. “It was a lot like a farmer’s market, with people selling all sorts of goods and taking pride in ownership in how they presented their goods,” Archuleta said. Civil affairs team leader Capt. Brian Love from Ariz., has an appreciation for the scene in Mehtar Lam. Love deployed to Laghman Prov. in 2005. He said he was encouraged by how busy the markets were, and how he and the other Soldiers were treated during the mission. “We’re able to conduct a mission without being intrusive, and they responded favorably to us being there,” said Love. “At first they were hesitant to talk to us until we began to ask questions about their products; then they opened up.” “As opposed to a convoy of tactical vehicles rolling through the city’s center on the way to or from another mission, a market walk provides a better chance to connect with people,” said Love. “The people get to see our faces and interact with us, and we get to see them instead of staring at the inside of our trucks, as our convoys roll through town.”
By Army Spc. Leslie GobleLAGHMAN – The ANA and CF captured Rashid Ahmad Arshad, a known Haqqani facilitator, at a traffic control point in southern Laghman Prov., Nov. 3. Arshad aided Haqqani by moving weapons and contraband throughout eastern Afghanistan. Combined forces set up the traffic control point after receiving info of insurgent movement in the area.
Arshad and 2 other individuals were taken into Coalition custody, after they were positively identified as insurgents wanted for questioning. Arshad remains in Coalition custody. -30-
ISAF Joint Command- Afghanistan
KANDAHAR PROVINCE -- A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor captured a Taliban weapons facilitator, and detained multiple suspected insurgents in Dand district, yesterday. The facilitator distributed weapons and ammo in the district. He also participated in roadside bomb and direct fire attacks against Afghan and CF.
PAKTIYA PROVINCE — A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor captured a Haqqani network leader in Sayyid Karam district, Nov. 4. The leader commands insurgent roadside bombings, direct fire attacks, and is directly responsible for attacks against Afghan and CF in the Sayyid Karam and Gardez districts. An additional suspected insurgent was detained.
LOGAR PROVINCE -- In Pul-e 'Alam district, a combined Afghan and coalition SecFor detained multiple suspected insurgents, during an op in search of a Haqqani network leader, yesterday. The leader directs roadside bomb attacks against Afghan and CF in the region, as well as acquires weapons and roadside bombs for his network.
KHOST PROVINCE -- A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor detained 2 suspected insurgents, during an op in search of a Haqqani network facilitator in Khost district, yesterday. The facilitator plans and conducts attacks against Afghan and CF, as well as conducts kidnappings in the district.
Members of the 125 Expeditionary Fighter Sqdn prepare to run their version of the 2011 Tulsa 15K Run, Oct. 29, 2011. The Tulsa Run is in its 34th year, and is the oldest and largest such event in Oklahoma. This was the 2nd time the Iraq version of the Tulsa run was completed. The first was in 2008 at Joint Base Balad. (AF photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)
JOINT BASE BALAD -- The 125th EFS is primarily made of members from the Oklahoma Air N.G.’s 138th Fighter Wing in Tulsa, Okla. The sqdn. also includes members from the Ohio Air N.G.’s 180th Fighter Wing in Toledo, Ohio, and the Arizona Air N.G.’s 160th Fighter Wing in Tucson, Ariz.Lt. Col. Rick Poplin, 125th EFS cmdr., organized both the 2008 and 2011 events. “It’s a little piece of home for us while we’re deployed,” said Poplin, an Okla. native, and annual participant in the stateside run. “I’ve run the Tulsa race many years, and I’m not going to miss it just because I’m gone.”
In 2008 at JB Balad, more than 600 runners competed in the event. This year, with OND coming to a close, Poplin was only able to round up 17 members of the 125th EFS to brave chilly temps and brisk winds to complete the 9.3 mile course. “I’m happy with the people that came out,” said Poplin. “We can’t get everybody out here, because of our 24-hour ops, but it was good to see all those who did come out and have some fun.”“I’ve run this with my mom since I was a kid,” said Maj. Blake Cook, 125th EFS F-16 pilot from Okla. “It’s great to continue the tradition while my mom, who is 66 years old, is running the race back in Tulsa.” Cook has run several Tulsa events alongside Poplin. Even though he’s stationed at the 162nd Fighter Wing in Tuscon, Ariz., Cook found himself on the starting line for another race with old friends while deployed to Iraq. For the 2011 run in Iraq, Poplin, Cook and Master Sgt. Brad Nelson, 125th EFS senior controller from Okla., paced the field with a time of 1:17:00. “This year, we just picked a time and place with having fun as our only goal,” said Poplin after completing the course. “Today we ran and talked the entire 15 ks -- it was really fun. Everyone who came out today was a winner for just showing up. For many, it was the longest distance they'd ever ran, and it’s quite an accomplishment.”