War on Terrorism

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Afghanistan: Alaska Army National Guard members play pivotal role in Afghanistan

By Army National Guard Maj. Guy Hayes
Alaska National Guard

CAMP DENALI, Alaska  — Alaska Army National Guard members from B Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 143rd Infantry Regiment are settling in to their roles as security forces for Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan.

More than 126 Soldiers departed Camp Atterbury, Ind., in late February after finalizing their pre-deployment training, and according to their commander, Army Capt. Jason Caldwell, they are proudly representing the Alaska Army National Guard.

“B Company Soldiers are rising to the challenge of each location and are completing their unique mission in a professional manner,” Caldwell said. “As I talk to them and their Provincial Reconstruction Team commanders, I hear nothing but praise for their professionalism and ability to adapt. We have outstanding Soldiers here.”

With units split between multiple forward operating locations, the Alaska Guard members are now conducting daily missions to assist the PRTs in potentially dangerous areas to rebuild infrastructure, assist with agriculture, build wells and provide healthcare.

“We range out into the rural areas of the provinces, completing mounted and dismounted missions,” Caldwell said. “Most days we complete multiple convoys to multiple areas.”

With a heavy operation tempo expected to continue throughout the deployment, Soldiers are extremely busy, but on deployment, busy is good, according to Caldwell.

“The first sergeant is keeping everyone in line and moral is high,” Caldwell said. “I assure you that our Alaska Soldiers continue to put their best foot forward and represent Alaska in the best manner possible.”

The deployed Guard members are expected to return to Alaska in November 2012.

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