By Army Staff Sgt. Neysa Canfield, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- More than 100 soldiers from the Afghan army’s newly established Eagle Strike Company, a quick-response company, finished six weeks of training and exercises and received their graduation certificates July 5 during a ceremony at Camp Hero here.
“[The company] is designed to be used to take back overrun check points and district centers that are under attack,” said U.S. Army Maj. Danny Zimmer, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade advisor. “[These soldiers] can be inserted in these locations via aircraft or by ground with minimal planning.”
The company was built by selecting soldiers from throughout the four brigades of the 205th Corps.
Zimmer, the officer in charge of the Regional Military Training Center Kandahar advisory team, said he and his team of advisors from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, trained and advised the Afghan soldiers.
During the ceremony, Afghan army Brig. Gen. Abdul Rahman Parwani, 205th Corps deputy commander, thanked the advisors for their time and effort.
“The Eagle Company training that was arranged by our American advisors and counterparts was productive, and I appreciate them for that,” Parwani said. “To the soldiers of the company, remember that you are most effective when you are united as members of one family, and that will make this company successful.”
In addition to honing basic soldier skills, the Afghan soldiers learned advanced and company-level collective skills, including combat lifesaver, communication, night vision, air assault, explosive and mortar training. A select few also received sniper training.
According to Zimmer, the Afghan brigades selected their best soldiers to attend the training.
“We started with a large group of soldiers, and unlike most cycles, this one was a selection and assessment,” Zimmer explained. “None of these soldiers have ever worked together before, and after six weeks, we took these groups of soldiers and turned them into what they are today, Eagle Strike Company.”
The creation of Eagle Strike Company will strengthen the 205th Corps combat capability and help them maintain an offensive posture, he said.
“These [soldiers] are not commandos, they have not received commando training, but they have received more in-depth training than any other [company] in the 205th Corps,” Zimmer said. “[This] provides the corps commander a company he can task to do difficult missions without pulling combat power from his brigades.”
Parwani said he was proud of the Eagle Strike Company soldiers and praised the skills they will bring to the 205th Corps.
“We have faith that you will be able to accomplish your duties [as Eagle Strike Company],” said Parwani. “I am very happy with the faith, unity, friendship and brotherhood you have built, and please continue with your lessons and training.”
Zimmer added that being part of the process of helping establish the company was a great opportunity for him and his team.
“These soldiers will be able to better shoot, move and communicate and it’s an honor to be able to do this and allow the 205th Corps and the Afghan National Army the ability to apply military pressure against the Taliban in order to force them to reconcile,” Zimmer said.