(From left) Local elder Haji Janan; Lt. Col. Tyler Zagurski; and ANA Lt. Col. Ahmad, pose for a photo outside Janan’s home.
ANA Lt. Col. Ahmad (left); and Lt. Col. Tyler Zagurski (second from left), relax in the home of Haji Janan (right). Janan, a local elder, warmly invited the patrolling SecFor for tea and fruit, during their trek across the district.
Afghan children gather near the road to see the ANA soldiers and Marines patrolling through the district.
“They're doing well and they really appreciate the training,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Segroves, of Germany, a senior medical advisor from the 172nd Support Bn. “A lot of the techniques we're teaching, they haven’t seen or used before.”
According to Segroves, the course is similar to the U.S. Army’s combat lifesaver course (CLS) in length and curriculum, but the class is focused more on trauma, and includes techniques and procedures not learned in CLS.
Five FOBs, Two Soldiers, and One Old-School Way of Getting Things Done
Story by Spc. Nicole Newton
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD – Her mission was up in the air from the get go. She changed military occupation specialties, changed plts., and changed roles multiple times, and that was all before leaving Tenn., for the upcoming mission in Afghanistan.When Spc. Kimberley Espey raised her hand and volunteered to deploy with the 230th Signal Co, she had no idea how important she and her military logistics background would become to the overall mission in Afghanistan. After cross training with various plts., and changing roles as the mission needs of her changed, Espey still had a smile on her face, and a work ethic most would look upon with awe. First in the office and last to leave on most days, it wasn’t long before she found her niche assisting the officer-in-charge of the 5 DSSTs, 1st Lt. Jason Capps; a job that we would all come to realize, fit her as perfectly as she fit the needs of the job. “That’s when I realized all the skills I’ve ever acquired, on both the military and the civilian sides, came into play,” Espey said, as she described her new role.Despite being built years ago, most of the DSST locations where 230th soldiers were re-locating, to take over signal ops, were still very primitive, from being mishandled by inhabitants before them. The teams of 7 found themselves thinking about essentials like housing and equipment, in addition to their primary duties of taking over for the previous unit. “One unit is supposed to set up another, to help another, and so on,” said Espey. “It wasn’t like that when we arrived here.” Faults cannot always be placed on the unit leaving; handing over ops to a new unit is a complicated process. As one packs up to leave theater, another arrives to pick ops up where the other left off. Equipment and supplies are transferred to the new unit via paperwork, but the unit being replaced by the 230th didn’t have much to pass along, except a handful of troubles that were handed to them. “Back door deals happen sometimes, and things don’t always go the way they are supposed to.” Capps said. “We fell in on the result of that.” Instead of trying to trace back and redo the deals that had been done, the tandem got right to work in getting their teams set up for success. The first 2 items on the agenda were acquiring vehicles for troop and equipment transport, and giving personal attention to the 5 FOB’s that were in desperate need.With a forward thinking mentality, Espey went to the USO and started networking, a skill that has proven to be quite valuable to the 230th. Her first order of business: 2 LMTV’s - large vehicles that could be used to haul lumber and equipment for the DSST’s, and with Afghanistan’s rainy season just around the corner, may become a necessity for troop transportation and mission movements.The timing couldn’t have been better. “As soon as we got the LMTV’s we started getting requests from the DSST teams,” she said. “It started small with nails, then wood for housing.” The need for the materials was present, but processes were in place that needed to be followed. It required assembly of large paperwork packets, meetings with military boards, and a justification of needs. It’s an extensive process that ends with legal ownership of the equipment acquired by the unit. “The order process takes months,” Espey said. “Everywhere I turned, people said it couldn’t be done. The stuff we needed wasn’t available.” This wasn’t the answer the team of 2 would accept as their final, and the long timeline was something the 230th Signal Co just didn’t have.“If we don’t send our teams the materials they need,” said Capps, “they aren’t going to have a place to live, or a proper place to work. They're going to be out there roughing it.” So off they went, to leverage those business relationships they both made just a few weeks before. “We got creative and we made it happen,” said Espey. “We went out knocking on doors again.”Together they were able to barter with other units here, acquire things those units would be leaving behind, and send the materials out to their DSSTs. “Imagine going back to the Old West, everyone lives and works in close proximity, and everyone has to work together to get things done.” Capps said. “It’s a barter and trade system, but the one with the most ‘stuff’ has the most control.” Some of it they needed, some of it they didn’t, but all of it can be used to barter - to help create a win/win situation for everyone. It’s already begun to build strong friendships between those living together at the FOBs. “Acquire as much stuff as possible, and get it out to those guys,” Capps said. “You want to set your people up for that kind of success.”Thanks to this dynamic duo, the 230th Signal Company’s 5 DSST locations are now getting a much needed facelift.
“We’ve got all this wood out there, that we’ve traded for other stuff we need,” said Spc. David Moffet, DSST soldier.
“We’ve got a sub-division, friendly neighborhood type thing going on at Camp Stone.”Espey beams with pride and relates the whole experience back to her family, a mentality that runs deep in all National Guard soldiers, when she spoke about the DSST’s with endearment. “I’m a mother, so the DSSTs are like my kids. They need food, shelter, and they need their play toys,” she said with a smile.
Spc. Kimberley Espey and 1st Lt. Jason Capps, 230th Signal Company's dynamic duo, meet with various units here at Kandahar to acquire needed equipment.
NorthKUNDUZ PROVINCE -- A coalition SecFor discovered a cache of unexploded ordinance in Kunduz district, today. The cache consisted of 20 40mm grenades, 40 30mm cannon casings, and one 130mm casing. BADAKHSHAN PROVINCE -- Acting on a tip by a local national, CF discovered a weapons cache in Faizabad district, today. The cache consisted of 29 RPGs.South
HELMAND PROVINCE -- A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor seized a narcotics cache during an op to disrupt an insurgent network in Washer district, yesterday. The op seized 1,430-lbs (650 kgs) of opium, which was safely destroyed on site.EastBAMYAN PROVINCE -- A local national led a coalition SecFor to a weapons cache in Kahmard district, today. The cache consisted of 5 82mm recoilless rifle rockets, 6 73mm rockets, 13 85mm rockets, 6 other rockets, and 400 12.7mm rounds.
Story by Staff Sgt. Mike Norris
CENTRAL IRAQ - Every solider in Iraq needs water, food, and equipment in order to perform their mission. For some, these things just seem to appear out of the blue, but the soldiers of the 123rd BSB, 4th AAB, 1st AR Div, know different. The ‘Iron Support’ soldiers work day in and day out to ensure that U.S. forces across central Iraq have everything that they need to accomplish their mission. One way they do this is by providing security for resupply convoys.Although the 123rd BSB is comprised of fuel handlers, mechanics, medics and logistics specialists, many of these sustainment soldiers provide a service traditionally conducted by combat arms troops – convoy escort teams. The logisticians receive special training, like the convoy cmdr’s course, which provides convoy cmdrs. the skills needed to plan and execute convoy security ops, in order to conduct this mission. “This mission is complex on multiple levels,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Saeed Mustafa, command sgt. maj. for 123rd BSB, 4th AAB, 1st AR Div. The soldiers who are assigned to the lead truck of the convoy escort team know the dangers of the mission, and are well trained to stay safe during this type of op. Sgt. Carlos Gaxiola, a petroleum supply specialist with the 123rd BSB, was selected by Mustafa to be a truck cmdr. for the lead truck. The decision to assign him to command the lead truck was a deliberate decision. This is Gaxiola’s 2nd deployment as a truck cmdr., and he has experience working in a lead truck. He and his crew start working several hours before the convoy starts, to ensure all of their equipment is functional before the mission. NCOs on the team check equipment after the crew has done their checks. Every piece of equipment that will be on the convoy is checked and double-checked, with Mustafa overseeing the entire process. This ensures that the lead truck and the rest of the convoy vehicles, are completely ready for any threats that might arise during the convoy. “There is only a small element that wants to do harm to us,” said Mustafa. “If they try, it's our job to fight and defend the convoy.” After the checks are completed, it's time for the convoy escort teams to lead a convoy comprised of several large trucks, loaded with equipment, outside the wire. Gaxiola and his crew call up any activity they see in the front, so that there are no surprises for any of the trucks behind him. They also maintain the speed of the convoy, keeping at a nice slow pace, which allows them to see any threats that might be along the route. This pace also gives drivers time to react to the traffic around them.