04 April 2011

'Operation Bull Whip': Air Assault into Galuch Valley

It was, by some reports, a dark and stormy night in Afghanistan.

"Fierce lightning shattered the night sky as a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter’s 350-pound blades sliced through the air producing a continuous rain of thunder over the otherwise quiet Galuch Valley," wrote U.S. Army Sgt. Amanda Jo Brown, a public affairs soldier with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.

According to reports subsequently published by military and civilian news outlets, the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (2-34th BCT) participated in the largest helicopter-borne assault yet conducted in Eastern Afghanistan during the active-duty 101st Airborne Division's current Afghan rotation.

During "Operation Bull Whip," approximately 2,200 Afghan and coalition troops moved into the Galuch Valley, Laghman Province. Starting March 25, the Red Bull soldiers were to search out enemy personnel and equipment, so that Afghan government officials could assemble local leaders at a community meeting called a "shura," and subsequently establish a district-level presence.

Most of the 2-34th BCT is currently organized as "Task Force Red Bulls," headquartered at Bagram Airfield ("BAF"). News reports on the operation specifically mentioned involvement of Iowa units such as the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment (1-133rd Inf.); 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment (1-113th Cav.); and 334th Brigade Support Battalion (B.S.B.). Laghman Province has been an area of responsibility of the 1-133rd Inf. since last November.

The Des Moines (Iowa) Register's Tony Leys reported:
The raid marked the third time in a little more than a year that U.S. or Afghan troops tried to dislodge insurgents from the area. The Taliban killed several U.S. and Afghan government soldiers during the two previous raids. The French Army, which participated in this week’s operation, also has lost soldiers in the area. This time, the allies flooded the valleys with troops, and most of the Taliban apparently fled.

The operation was planned in secret, but insurgents probably figured something was coming after provincial leaders announced several weeks ago that they intended to set up a district government center in the area. Then, shortly before the troops hit the ground last weekend, the Americans dropped leaflets warning that a raid was imminent.
In one of his regularly published "Eagle 6 Updates," U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Campbell, the commander of 101st Airborne Division, wrote of the operation:
I joined Task Force Red Bulls' Commander, Col. Ben Corell at his Tactical Command Post on the side of a mountain during their Operation Bull Whip. With the Afghan National Security Forces, TF Red Bulls conducted this operation to defeat insurgents in the western part of the Laghman Province in order to allow [Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan] to establish governance in the area. While there, TF Red Bulls uncovered several caches and conducted a peace shura with the locals and the governor of Laghman, Governor Azizi. The peace shura was successful, and the local and provincial government established a [Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan] presence in the area for the first time.
For photos of Campbell's visit to the Task Force Red Bulls command post, click here.

For more on the aviation training and support leading up to Operation Bull Whip, click here.

For video of sling-load operations conducted by Alpha Company, 334th BSB, Task Force Red Bulls during Operation Bull Whip, click here.

For photos of Red Bull and Afghan soldiers participating in Operation Bull Whip, click here.

UPDATE (April 7): For more photos and a news article wrapping-up Operation Bull Whip, click here.

1 comment:

  1. just to clarify 10th CAB is part of 10th Mountain Division not 101st don't disrespect soldiers by not identifying them properly I was a reservist attached to them


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