The injured soldiers, all members of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry "Ironman" Regiment (1/133rd Inf.)--currently operating as "Task Force Ironman"--were evacuated to a U.S. military hospital at Bagram Airfield ("BAF") for medical treatment. Bagram is also the location of the 2-34th BCT headquarters. News reports attribute to the soldiers' respective family members that each is at least regarded as medically "stable."
The names of the injured are:
- Cpl. Adam P. Eilers, 23, of Garber, Iowa.
- Spc. Caleb J. Redell, 22, of Erie, Ill.
- Pfc. Andrew Zimmerman, 20, of Camanche, Iowa.
According to a previously released news report from 2-34th BCT, one that overviews the actions of Alpha Company, 1/133rd Inf. since it arrived in Afghanistan last November, Spc. Zimmerman had previously been injured in an IED attack near Watangatu, a village south of Combat Outpost ("COP") Najil. Zimmerman had been briefly knocked unconscious and received stitches to his face following the Nov. 29 attack.
Radio Iowa reports that the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP, pronounced "em-rap") vehicle was a newer, smaller version called an "MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle" (M-ATV, pronounced "M.A.T.V."). The heavily armored M-ATV, manufactured by Osh Kosh Corp. of Osh Kosh, Wis., cost more than $450,000 each, and are designed to deflect bomb blasts away from the crew. "Certainly, this vehicle saved these soldiers' lives," Iowa National Guard Army Col. Greg Hapgood told Radio Iowa.
According to open news sources, COP Najil sits approximately 25 Kilometers to North North-West from Mehtar Lam, the provincial capital. It sits at the intersection of the Alishang, Dowlat Shah and Mayl Valleys. In a by-lined Army news report filed during the Christmas holiday season, Army Sgt. Ryan Matson described the Alpha Company outpost as "remote, small, and austere." He continued:
The COP is nestled along the base of a mountain, and there is no flat ground; everywhere the servicemembers walk is on a grade. Living conditions are tough, as water for showering and laundry is limited, and the bathrooms are tubes in the ground. There’s no post exchange to be found here; the soldiers are just happy to have power.In late December, Alpha Company, 1/133rd Inf. successfully defended COP Najil using close-air support ("CAS," pronounced "caz"), skills it first tested the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. (See earlier Red Bull Rising reports about Alpha Company training here.)
In the 2-34th BCT's only other previously reported combat injury, Sgt. Brian M. Pfeiler of Earlsville, Iowa, was injured in early January after stepping on a landmine in Laghman Province's Qarghayeed District. His right leg was amputated below the knee. Pfeiler is a member of Delta Company, 1/133rd Inf.
Elsewhere in Laghman Province this week, Charlie Company, 1/133rd Inf. supported Afghan National Army personnel in "Operation Brass Monkey," an attempt to locate a specific individual in Parwai village, Alingar District. Army news reports indicate that, while the "high-value target" (H.V.T.) was not located, six other persons of interest were detained. The coalition forces also reportedly located explosive device-making materials and intelligence regarding insurgent operations in the area.