100-day mark in Wardak, Afghanistan: 1st Sqdn., 13th Cav. Regt., Task Force Warhorse makes progress
1st Lt. Jamie Holm,
1st Sqdn.,13th Cav. Regt. Task Force:
MAYDEN SHAR, Afghanistan – 1st Squadron, 13th Cavalry, Task Force Warhorse, the reconnaissance squadron of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, has completed 100 days of challenging counterinsurgency operations as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Deployed to northern Wardak province, Afghanistan, Task Force Warhorse has made steady progress across all lines of operation and made substantial gains in their security, partnership, governance and development objectives. From delivering apple presses for juice making in Jalrez Valley, to disrupting insurgent networks in Nerkh district, to escorting the newly trained Afghan National Army Soldiers from Kabul to Ghazni, the Warhorse Troopers have done it all. The training the troopers received at Fort Bliss, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and Las Playas, N.M., has enabled them to thrive in this dynamic environment.
In these first 100 days Task Force Warhorse conducted multiple squadron-size combat operations, detained several insurgent leaders, reduced overall insurgent attack levels and interdicted 52 improvised explosive devices.
They also have trained their Afghan National Army counterparts in the 2nd Kandak and the Afghan Uniformed Police on security, command and control, and sustainment operations. The ANSF are taking the lead on many security operations and independently discovering weapons caches and indirect firing positions in northern Wardak.
In a culminating point to this period for TF Warhorse, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan officially assumed control of security for Wardak Province Jan. 11. According to the Afghan transition office, this event was a critical milestone for the people of Wardak.
“We need to say thank you to the [International Security Assistance Force, the NATO command in Afghanistan] and the international community for their sacrifices, both financial and in lives lost, they have made on behalf of Afghanistan,” said Dr. Ashraf Ghani, head of the Afghan transition office.
The squadron activated at Fort Bliss in June of 2009 and immediately began preparing for their deployment to Afghanistan. Many Soldiers who have been a part of the squadron since its beginning view this as the culmination of two and a half years of work.
“I’m just really glad to see those two years of work, all those field problems, finally put to use,” said Spc. Matthew Kirschner, who has been apart of “Chosen” Troop since its inception. “That was a lot of training, and it was hard. It feels good to validate all that time in the El Paso desert!”
Task Force Warhorse and other interagency partners such as U.S. Aid for International Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of State achieved many developmental objectives for the local population, completing $1.2 million in projects in the first three months. These projects include a rural health clinic, construction of a new road to an underdeveloped region in Nerkh district, a district police headquarters, and numerous small training events to empower families with skills such apple pressing, animal care and food preservation training.
“It seems like we’ve been here a long time already, it’s hard to think that it’s only been 100 days,” said Staff Sgt. Ezekiel Porras, a cavalry scout serving in “Blackhawk” Troop. “But we can see that we’re really making progress here, so it’s all worth it. I’m excited to be a part of this team, and real proud to be a Warhorse trooper. I know we’ve only been here 100 days, but I can’t imagine all the stuff we’re going to accomplish in the rest of the time we’re here.”
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