23 September 2010

Update on Vermont's Green Mountain Boys

Earlier this week, Red Bull Rising presented remarks from Maj. Gen. John Campbell ("Eagle-6"), commander of the 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles" Division, currently deployed to Regional Command-East (RC-East), Afghanistan. These comments were part of a regular series of publicly disseminated messages from the commander.

In his message, Campbell specifically mentioned Vermont's 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (I.B.C.T.), a National Guard unit currently under his command that is operating in the Parwan, Panjshir, and Bamiyan Provinces.

Here are excerpts of a recent National Guard Bureau (N.G.B.) news release, which describes the 86th IBCT commander's impressions at the "third quarter" mark of his unit's mission.

On current conditions in his unit's Area of Operations (A.O.):
"Across the board we are seeing a lot of success in separating the insurgents from the population, a lot of success in building infrastructure and a lot of success in helping the Afghans build institutions of government, so they can help their people,” said Army Col. Will Roy, commander of Vermont’s 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

“We are continuing to see improvement day-by day. Certainly there are some days where you take three steps forward and four backwards. For those days, you have others where you take four steps forward and you stay there.”

In some areas of the country, you can walk through the bazaars with no body armor, Roy said.
On working with Afghan National Security Forces (A.N.S.F.):
By working with their Afghan partners on a daily basis, they have a better understanding of “who we are and why we are here,” Roy said.

He added that the Afghans believe that without the coalition forces there would be “utter chaos.” They are creating a “buffer zone” for the Vermont troops, who are training the Afghan Security Forces to take over the mission.

“(They) are almost there,” Roy said. The new Afghan battalions need their greatest attention, because “we have to show them what right looks like."
On losing Vermont soldiers:
Two Soldiers from the brigade were killed on Aug. 22: Sgt. Tristan Southworth of Walden, Vt., and Sgt. Steven Deluzio of Glastonbury, Conn.

“Losing ... our Soldiers is one of the most difficult things,” Roy said. “We believe the best way to pay tribute to them is to carry on with this mission of helping the Afghans build a government that will provide safety and security for its population, so that it can never be used again to attack our nation or any other nation.

“And that their children have the same opportunities that our children do -- that is to grow up safe and secure, have a chance for to education, have access to health care, clean water and a just a brighter future.”
On the deployment so far:
“It’s really one of those missions that keeps you on your toes,” he said. “When you wake in the morning, you don’t know what to expect. And by the time you go to back to bed, you look back and think wow that was a long day. The days are really long, but the weeks go by very fast.”


“We know our replacements are at their mobilization stations. We see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that we can turn around and look the other way and see the accomplishments in the time that we have been here.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.