War on Terrorism

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Afghanistan: Guard members assist with large-scale inoculation project

By Army National Guard Maj. William Humes
37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KUNDUZ, Afghanistan  – Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Viking, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, provided assistance for an Afghan-led sheep inoculation project last week, north of the city of Kunduz.

The project – which saw the inoculation of more than 20,000 sheep over two days – was a collaborative effort between the Afghan Director of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, the commander of the Afghan National Civil Order Police, the U.S. advisers to ANCOP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture adviser and the Kuchi Peace Ambassador.

The sheep owned by the Kuchi tribe, a national nomadic tribe of Afghanistan, were the target of the inoculation project.

Army Capt. Jennifer Pacurari, the civil-military operations officer for Task Force Viking, played a large part in bringing the group together.

“Meeting on [Forward Operating Base] Kunduz provided a secure location to do business,” Pacurari said. “Many of the Afghans attending the meeting had never been to our FOB so it was an opportunity to extend hospitality to our Afghan friends.”

Once all parties agreed on the specifics, the next step was to ensure security was provided for the operation. This responsibility fell to the ANCOP, and the U.S. team advising the ANCOP. In a truly combined operation, the ANCOP and their advising team went through the detailed planning process to ensure all parties remained safe while conducting the inoculations.

Army Capt. Jeremy Prince, the operations officer for the ANCOP advising team said, “I have been impressed by the operations conducted by the ANCOP since I started this advising mission. But working with the planning staff for this project really gave me a new level of respect for their professionalism.”

When inoculation day finally arrived, it was time to see if all of the preparations would work out. When the operation went as planned, it was a reflection on the thoroughness of the planning team.

"This was my first chance to witness the ANCOP in action,” Pacurari said. “At no point during the operation did I feel my safety was in jeopardy.”

ANCOP and International Security Assistance Force personnel maintained security of the location while Afghan veterinarians administered thousands of vaccinations.

The 37th IBCT is currently deployed to northern Afghanistan in support of ISAF in order to build Afghan National Police capacity.

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