Sgt. Mark A. Moore II
2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade Journalist
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Rendering safe improvised explosive devices, reacting to small-arms fire and countering mortar attacks were challenges Afghan National Army and U.S. Army Soldiers overcame during a clearing operation conducted April 21 to May 3 in the Bermal District of Paktika Province.
Taking the lead during Operation Pamier were ANA soldiers assigned to the 2nd and 4th Kandaks, 2nd Brigade, 203rd “Thunder” Corps, who advanced dismounted over mountainous terrain to clear eight villages. They also seized weapons caches containing IED power components, mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, ANA and U.S. Army patterned bags and a suicide vest.
“The overall mission was to have the ANA clear villages looking for insurgent activity and weapons caches,” said 1st Lt. Bradley A. Johns-Parson, battle captain assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, Task Force “Golden Dragons,” 2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade, Forward Operating Base Boris. “Our mission was to advise and assist when needed and to provide overwatch for dismounted personnel.”
Also responsible for providing overwatch were ANA fire support soldiers assigned to 4/2/203rd Corps, who called in more than 60 D-30 howitzer counter-fire missions. These missions fired more than 170 high explosive rounds contributing to the suppression of the enemy, enabling ANA and U.S. forces to continue clearance operations.
“All of my soldiers are interested in engaging the enemy and securing our area,” said Gholam Hassan, fire support officer assigned to 4/2/203rd Corps. “When we send the enemy’s grid coordinates to our fire direction coordinators and they shoot, we are successful in our mission.”
Throughout the mission, ANA soldiers received minimal advising and assistance from U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Green 2, Security Force Advise and Assist Team, demonstrating their proficiency in their military craft and a strong desire to operate independently.
“The advising we gave was very limited,” said Capt. Robert J. Reidel, team leader of Green 2, Security Force Advise and Assist Team, Task Force “Golden Dragons.” “We would sit down and talk through the plan, discuss the situation, advise on possible courses of action and then let the ANA decide what they wanted to do.”
“I was impressed by the soldiers and junior leader in the Kandaks,” Reidel said. “They were ready to go out there; their motivation was high even on the last day of patrol.”