2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, has new footprint in Parwan
December 29, 2013
By 1st Lt. Joseph Robinson
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Dec. 15, 2013) -- 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment recently moved all personnel and equipment from Forward Operating Base Tagab in Kapisa province to Bagram Airfield in Parwan province. The unit will be based out of Bagram Airfield for the remainder of their deployment.
The 2nd Bn. Warriors quickly adjusted to the change of scenery and continued their advise and assist mission.
The battalion's overall mission of providing a Security Forces Advise and Assist Team that mentors the Afghan leadership remains the same, with 2nd Bn. advising at Mahmud-e-Raqi in Kapisa, Naghlu High in Sarobi District in Kabul, and now a new location at Charikar in Parwan.
Bagram Airfield's base security and defense mission is handled by multiple tenant units.
"We no longer have a force protection requirement like we did at Tagab," said 1st Lt. Lucas Weeks of Demascus, Md., who serves as a platoon leader with 2nd Bn's Company A. "This allows more Soldiers to be used solely for the mission."
The population difference between the two bases is opposite ends of the extreme as far as forward operating bases are concerned; from a few Infantry Soldiers occupying a small base to several thousand uniformed personnel of all services, international armies, and U.S. Government Civilians.
With multiple units operating in the same base, additional coordination between units must be taken to allow daily life on the base to operate smoothly.
"There are regulations and procedures that we have to follow in order to leave and enter the base, and we have to coordinate our moving pieces with other units," said Sgt. Kevin Toby, an Alpharetta, Ga. native who serves as an intelligence analyst for 2nd Bn.
Toby compared the new steps that are necessary as opposed to the simplicity of being a single unit at FOB Tagab.
"I understand these protocols are in support of Force Protection and are designed to keep all units safe," said Toby.
When 2nd Bn. Soldiers were asked about the differences in scenery, several shared the same thoughts. Many pointed out the sheer size of the new base, and how walking from one end to the other would be impractical.
Most of the battalion's Soldiers were moved into concrete buildings with shared living quarters, each with their own blocked off section to provide each resident privacy.
Parwan province, which houses Bagram Airfield, is west of Kapisa province (where FOB Tagab was located). Roughly 600,000 Afghans reside in this province, with a third of them living in Charikar, the district capital. The city of Charikar shares the same name as its district and is home to the head of the government in Parwan.
2-4 Infantry adds new location to advising mission
December 30, 2013
By 1st. Lt. Joseph Robinson
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Dec. 30, 2013) -- The 2nd Battalion Security Forces Advise and Assist Team added another Afghan National Security Forces' and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan unit to their list of organizations to work with during the deployment.
"We have all three platoons on mission today," said a staff officer from 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, in reference to the battalion's new mission tempo.
This unit, which is located in Charikar, the capital city of Parwan Province, mentors the Afghan leadership and assists them in planning training and missions, followed by offering feedback after any Afghan National Security Forces-led operations.
"The new mission tempo is great," said 1st Lt. Matt Hurley, an Alexandria, Va., native and platoon leader with Company A, 2nd Battalion.
Hurley said the frequent assessments of the area give his platoon the opportunity to "build a baseline of what the route, bazaar shops, and population densities are supposed to look like." As a result, it helps his platoon figure out "what looks normal," which allows his element to be more vigilant if they observe something that is out of the ordinary.
The battalion advises units at Mahmud-e-Raqi, Kapisa Province's capital, and an Afghan National Army unit in the Kabul Province. Visiting Charikar frequently will help build a rapport and allow 2nd Battalion to coach their Afghan counterparts located there.
The Security Forces Advise and Assist Team, or SFAAT, requests updates from the Afghan units they advise and offers assistance with planning future Afghan-led operations.
Charikar is roughly 15 miles from Bagram Airfield, allowing the SFAAT to advise their new counterparts on a very frequent basis, due to its close proximity.
The Warriors will have to learn about the traditions, history, and culture of Parwan in order to effectively work with the Afghan leadership and its people.
The area is urbanized with multi-story brick buildings and paved roads between the markets. The bazaars on either side of the roads are decorated with shops and food hanging as displays and potential sales.
Children are frequently seen playing outside and show their excitement at the sight of U.S. Soldiers by "practicing their English [with English greetings] and giving the ubiquitous thumbs up," said Capt. Joseph Barrow, a Gig Harbor, Wash., native, who serves as a communications officer adviser for 2nd Battalion.
"The bazaars are teeming with exotic sights and sounds," Barrow added, as he compared this new sight to the fairly tranquil Tagab district.
The scenery is a change from the rural feel that was prevalent at Forward Operating Base Tagab. With time spent working with their new Afghan counterparts, the SFAAT will build a working relationship that is intended to leave a lasting impression in Afghanistan.