22 September 2010

'Screaming Eagles 101,' Part 2

Excerpt of Afghan political map (above) from www.understandingwar.org.

Continuing the format of yesterday's Red Bull Rising blog post, the following presents annotated and excerpted comments from Maj. Gen. John Campbell ("Eagle-6"), commander of the 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles" Division. The division is currently deployed to Regional Command-East (RC-East), Afghanistan. Dated earlier this month, these comments were part of a regular series of publicly disseminated messages from the commander.

These remarks are of potential interest to Red Bull Rising readers, given the likelihood that all or part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division will, upon arrival to Afghanistan, work under Campbell's command. In short, it provides a "Screaming Eagles 101" primer on the Red Bull's future operational environment.

Red Bull Rising notes on acronyms used in this message:
  • "C.A.B." (pronounced "kab") stands for "Combat Aviation Brigade." Because of its historical role in fulfilling helicopter-borne missions, The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) is the only U.S. Army division to include two aviation brigades.
  • "FOB" (pronounced "faub") stands for "Forward Operating Base."
  • "GiROA" stands for "Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan."
  • "ANSF" (sometimes pronounced "an-sif") stands for "Afghan National Security Forces," and includes both army and police units.
Eagle-6 sends:
The Currahees are now in charge of their battlespace, the Paktika Province. They assumed their battlespace on 8 September. They are the final piece of the "surge", I have mentioned continuity in previous updates, and how we are trying to maintain as much continuity with units as we can, and the Currahees are a prime example. 1-506 is back in Sharana ... where they were on their last deployment, and 2-506 is back at FOB Orgun-E ... also where they were before. About 60% of the battalions were on the last deployment, and have rekindled relationships with Afghans they met on the last deployment. The Currahees complete the deployment of Force Package 3, the last of President Obama’s surge announced earlier this year.

We now have the 101st Division Headquarters, Bastogne (1BCT, 101st), Strike (2BCT, 101st), Rakkasan (3BCT, 101st), Currahee (4BCT, 101st), and Destiny (101st CAB) in Afghanistan. The Sustainment Brigade Headquarters will join us here later this fall, and 159th CAB will replace the 101st CAB in the JAN/FEB timeframe. This makes the first time that an entire US Division is deployed to Afghanistan.

Bastogne (1BCT, 101st) has received 1-61 Cavalry Squadron from the Currahees, and has conducted operations in Laghman Province and Nangarhar Province to set conditions for TF Panther. They continue to face a determined insurgent force in their area with increased IEDs on southern routes and attacks on COPs and FOBs in Kunar Province.

Strike (2BCT, 101st) continues to improve security in the Maiwand, Zharey, and Arghandab Districts of RC-South. They recently bid farewell to 2-508th Infantry who redeployed to Fort Bragg, and recently welcomed the 1-66 Armor from the 1st “Raider” Brigade of 4th ID.

Rakkasans (3BCT, 101st) continue to face a determined enemy who, as mentioned above, is suffering from a failed attack. Rakkasans have relinquished Paktika to the Currahees, and now focus on Paktiya and Khowst Provinces. 3-187 has moved to East Ghazni, and will work for Task Force White Eagle, the Polish Brigade. 1-187 will go down to RC-South to assist in operations there.

Bayonet (173rd Airborne) focuses on Logar and Wardak provinces. They have helped GIRoA respond to the flooding in their area of operations. Recently, 60 farmers in Wardak attended agriculture training designed to improve their farming methods. Like the rest of CJTF-101, they are preparing for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Lafayette (the French Brigade) remains focused on conducting operations to disrupt the insurgents’ ability to impact Highway 7. In the Kapisa Province, they have conducted operations in Alasay, Bedraou, and Tag Ab valleys. Tracing the roots of the French working with the 101st back to World War II, they are very proud to be working with us again, and can frequently be heard saying, “Air Assault!”

White Eagle (the Polish Brigade) has received 3-187 Infantry from Rakkasans, and is conducting operations along Highway 1 to disrupt insurgent IED cells. They are also preparing to transition in the next contingent of Polish forces who begin arriving later this month.

Wolverine (86th IBCT- Vermont NG) continues to conduct operations in Parwan, Panjshir, and Bamyan. Partnered with governors and ANSF leaders, their civilian led Provincial Reconstruction Teams continue to make positive progress in the most stable provinces of RC-East.

Falcon (3rd CAB) and Destiny (101st CAB) both continue outstanding support to conventional and special operations forces [S.O.F.] in both RC-East and RC-South respectively. They routinely coordinate for nightly contingency operations while maintaining the flexibility for time-sensitive targets as required. SOF missions account for 52% of 479 missions flown over the past nine months by 3rd CAB in RC-East and 69% of 216 missions flown in five months by 101st CAB in RC-South. They manage to do this while providing lift and attack helicopters to support the rest of the Coalition Forces in RC-East, RC-Capital, and RC-South.

Back at Fort Campbell, the Lifeliners (101st Sustainment Brigade) and Eagle Thunder (159th CAB) continue their preparations for their upcoming deployments. Lifeliners just completed their Command Post Exercise, and are in their final preparations for deployment as they prepare their colors casing and block leave in October. Thunder is conducting off-post training events in preparation for an air training exercise in December. They have a little more time to train, and will deploy after the New Year. [...]

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