War on Terrorism

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Iowa Guardmembers keep Soldiers’ lifeline running strong

By Army Spc. James Wilton
Task Force Red Bulls

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (1/25/11) – Soldiers stand amidst the morning haze, their banter highlighted by smoke and fog, flowing from their mouths.

Slowly, the scattered groups converge into one mass. Iowa National Guard Chaplain (Capt.) Martha Kester, chaplain for the 334th Brigade Support Battalion, Task Force Archer, part of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, recites a small prayer for protection and safe travel.

Company A, 334th BSB, begins every supply logistical package, known as a LOGPAC, this way.

On Jan. 4, they went to Combat Outpost Pushtayshark, nicknamed COP Red Hill by a coalition interpreter when asked to translate Pushtayshark.

These LOGPACs are just another day for the Soldiers of Co. A, but an important part of a COP’s lifeline and a morale booster for the Soldiers stationed there.

“It’s their sustainment of life,” said Iowa Army National Guard Sgt. Mike Helton, Co. A. “We bring them their food, fuel and other supplies, like ammo. To me, it’s just a job, one with good job security and a way we get to help out, where we can.”

Building materials and other items used for work or other daily tasks also come out on the LOGPACs.

“I remember our first couple missions out to Red Hill,” said Army Sgt. Josh Pointsett of Co. A. “We brought out their containers to store water and the wood they used to build their chow hall. The thankfulness they had in their faces ... made me realize the importance of our job. Without us doing what we’re doing, they have nothing.”

“LOGPACs, are our lifeline,” said Army 1st Lt. Gerry Holloway, platoon leader for Troop C, 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Redhorse, also a part of the TF Red Bulls, and the unit in charge of Red Hill.

“The LOGPACs supply us with the items, ‘beans and bullets,’ we need in order to complete our mission. They provide a lifeline between the Soldiers and their families bringing the mail out to us. Without that, morale would be considerably less and make accomplishing our mission, a lot more difficult."

Mail, which keeps Soldiers connected with the outside world and brightens the spirits after a long week of missions, is always a favorite item.

“When they get their mail, it’s a real morale booster for them,” said Pickett.

“When we bring out mail it is one of the best things for their morale,” said Army Staff Sgt. Andy Johnson, Co. A.

The LOGPACs run every few days and return to Co. A’s home base, Bagram Airfield. The airfield is also the main hub for transportation, which makes the LOGPACs a perfect conduit for Soldiers trying to get a ride before they catch a plane to go on leave.

Co. A goes out into dangerous territory on a daily basis to make sure their fellow Soldiers have the supplies they need to conduct missions. They risk contact with enemy forces all for the good of the team – knowing that the important part is keeping that lifeline flowing strong.

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