LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers of C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, patrol local villages of Logar Province on nearly a daily basis, usually with Afghan National Security Forces right by their side.
“Joint operations” has become a key term for Americans and Afghans alike – one that is illustrated well with C Troop Soldiers.“Seventy percent of our operations are joint operations with the Afghan National Army,” said Staff Sgt. Shawn Evans, a squad leader with 1st Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, attached to C Troop, 3-71 Cavalry.“Our primary task here is to legitimize the Afghan government, and the main way to do that is to put the ANA on point,” Evans added.
Putting the ANA “on point,” however, isn’t as simple as merely thrusting Afghan soldiers out front. Hours of training are put in before each and every mission.“Making sure the ANA is properly trained ensures their safety as well as ours,” said 1st Lt. Kevin Cory, 1st Platoon leader. “In order to bring security, safety and peace to Afghanistan, we need to assist the ANSF in perfecting their battle abilities.”“We usually spend a few days before each mission going over our plan of action, as well as basic combat skills with the ANA before we actually go out,” Evans said. “Most of them have good training already; it’s just a matter of letting them step forward and use it.”ANA soldiers have impressed their trainers with their abilities.
“Last mission we did, we brought a squad and a platoon leader from the ANA with us,” Evans said. “We went out into one of the villages to talk to local elders. We had only planned on the ANA working with us for additional security, but they split off and were very pro-active.“The ANA unit met with local elders and the people definitely reacted to them as part of a legitimate government, which is a big step in a remote area like this where the people know very little of their government,” he added.Soldiers of C Troop take their job with the ANA very seriously.“We’ve got to realize we’re fighting an insurgency,” Evans said. “There are no front lines.
The only way to win this war is to teach them how to work this themselves.”Combat-arms Soldiers often are stereotyped as being all about “guts and glory,” but with the constantly changing battlefield in Afghanistan, that mentality is quickly changing as well.“It’s easy to focus on the kinetic things we do,” Evans said. “But we aren’t going to win this by winning gun fights. We need to work on helping bolster the government from the ground up.”Soldiers of C Troop, who actively train and work with ANA on a daily basis, are doing just that.
Curtesy of: Ft Drum Blizzard Online