Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunar leadership went to the Noorgul District Center Oct. 1, 2012 to conduct key leader engagments with key district leaders. The PRT is made up of U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and civilians who work alongside local government officials to reconnect the people of Afghanistan with their government.
Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunar visited the Narang District Center, Sept. 6, 2012, to conduct key leader engagments with the district governor and other key district leaders. The PRT is made up of U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and civilians who work alongside local government officials to reconnect the people of Afghanistan with their government.
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Members of Forward Operating Base Wright were greeted by a special guest Aug. 16, 2012, as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham stopped by for a visit.
The Ambassador came by to thank the men and women of FOB Wright for their quick reponse and actions during the suicide attack in Kunar provincial capital of Asadabad that claimed the lives of three senior service members and a U.S. Agency for International Development representative.
He noted the importance of the quick response of the Provincial Reconstruction Team who’s members were the first on scene to provide security and immediate medical care for the wounded, and the life saving work of the Forward Surgical Team at FOB Wright who treated the patients.
On top of thanking the members of FOB Wright for their work on that day, he thanked them for their service and the job they’re doing in Afghanistan.
“We’re here in an important and critical time in Afghanistan,” said Cunningham. “I’m especially grateful for all of you who are here helping us transition our roles to the Afghan government.”
The Ambassador also stressed the importance of the mission in Afghanistan, as well as the long term effects of what the teams are doing on a daily basis.
“The work you’re doing here will lay the ground work for a stable Afghanistan,” said Cunningham. “Through capacity building and the assistance you’re providing, we’re working for a stable and secure future for this country.”
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – As Kiowa scout helicopters and Soldiers from both the 1st Battalion 12th Infantry Regiment and Afghan National Army provide outer security, members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunar’s engineering section conduct quality assurance checks at the Shigal Girl’s School.
But the real security, both at the school and at the numerous other places that the PRT conducts its mission on a daily basis, falls to the team’s security force element, composed of Soldiers from A Company, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry (Airborne) out of Austin, Texas.
The unique unit, the only Airborne Battalion in the National Guard, brings special mission capabilities and skillsets to the security mission of the PRT, according to Army National Guard Capt. Jeffrey Preston, A Company Commander.
“What’s unique about our unit is the way our mandate was created, we’re very Airborne Ranger centric in those we bring into leadership roles,” he said. “This is a factor out here in Kunar specifically, because we’re seeing more traditional stand-off engagements and ambushes, and our guys are trained to conduct and counter those types of engagements.”
A key factor in the team’s success has been meeting the tactical directives set forth by the International Security Assistance Force commander, specifically using the appropriate amount of force to combat the enemy, an area in which the team has excelled, according to Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Jason Broyles, the team’s Platoon Sergeant.
“It comes right down to the scope of their duties and how they are conducting themselves, which has been exceptional,” he said. “At no point have they been over-aggressive or under-aggressive, it’s a very fine line that a soldier has to walk, and our guys have done an extremely good job of walking that path.”
The good work done by the security force element has been noted by the PRT leadership as well, as U.S. Navy Cmdr. Michael Yesunas, PRT Kunar commander, complimented them on their professionalism and military bearing.
“They have allowed us to safely continue our mission with confidence, poise and professionalism,” he said. “They always use the amount of force necessary to take the fight to the enemy and protect the people of Afghanistan at the same time.”
Fortunately for the PRT, the engagements with the enemy have been few and far between, which provides its own challenges for the combat ready security force element according to Preston.
“There aren’t a lot of dynamic missions within the PRTs, we’re not conducting raids or providing cordons, our intent is non-lethal, it’s all about governance and stability,” he said. “What we’re getting from across all of the provinces is that our guys aren’t giving in to the boredom and complacency that can come from this stable mission set. They remain focused and ready, so that if a threat does present itself, they aren’t caught off guard.”
That professionalism is visible not only in the way the security forces conduct themselves, but in the way the engineers, agricultural specialists and civil affairs personnel, as well as key leaders within the PRT and local governance conduct their missions without fear thanks to the efforts of the Soldiers, said Yesunas.
“The nature of the PRT mission is heavy with meetings with local leaders, and speaking to them and using what they’re giving you to help them with a way forward with their country,” he said. “When I’m in these meetings I can’t concentrate on my security, but I have absolute confidence that we’re safe and the guys outside are watching over us.”
“I don’t have to worry about if they’ll do the right thing or not, I know they will, and they’ll keep us all safe,” said Yesunas. “I think we have the best platoon in Afghanistan, and I’d put our guys against any enemy, and I know they’d come out as good or better than anyone else.”
The day at the school ended quietly, with the engineers conducting their assessment and heading back home without incident, but confident that if needed, the team’s Security Force element would be there to protect them.
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