War on Terrorism

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Face of Defense: Airman Serves with Reconstruction Team

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Beth Del Vecchio
U.S. Air Forces Central

KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan, May 29, 2012 – Air Force Staff Sgt. Kyle Norris is helping Afghans prepare for the upcoming security transition during his six-month tour with a Provincial Reconstruction Team based here.

Norris, a quality assurance technician and native of Grove Hill, Ala., is home-stationed with the 50th Space Communications Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The staff sergeant supervises three communications specialists and his group is responsible for all communications equipment for the 65-member PRT. Norris’ team also manages radio communications at the tactical operations center while the PRT is engaged off-base performing missions.

“We [also] do maintenance for all the communication equipment in the trucks, the handheld radios, the computers and all the network programming,” Norris said.

The staff sergeant’s PRT covers an area of approximately 1,143 square miles of mountainous terrain, home to nearly 365,000 Afghans, officials said. Located just north of Kabul, Kapisa is the smallest province in the country, but has the one of the highest populations per capita spread throughout seven districts.

The staff sergeant said his responsibilities in Afghanistan are very different from his stateside duties. Norris and his team, he added, keep the PRT members in constant contact with each other and with the base so they can safely continue their mission to prepare Kapisa for transition to Afghan control.

“Back home, I’m pretty hands-off, doing paperwork,” he said. “Here, I get to work on the equipment more. The thing that motivates me is that I work with the equipment that will get these guys help if something were to happen. It’s important to me to keep the equipment running so they can call for help if they need it.”

The Kapisa PRT has been conducting counterinsurgency and stability operations in the province for more than six years, officials said. Mentors on the team have been working with the Afghan leaders of Kapisa at the provincial and district level to bolster the capacity and credibility of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, or GIRoA.

With the help of an Army security force, the PRT travels across not only Kapisa province but also Parwan and Kabul provinces, officials said. The Kapisa PRT participates in key leader engagements, scouts areas for new projects and performs quality checks and site visits on existing projects.

Members of the PRT work closely with the Afghans, mentoring them on how their government can work for them, officials said.

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