News: Vanguard’s Mustang Squadron fights until end of mission
Story by 1st Lt. David Conrad
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – As the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, wraps up their deployment in eastern Afghanistan, the Soldiers of the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th IBCT, are continuing to take the fight to the enemy.
The squadron, known as Task Force Mustang, took responsibility of operations in Logar Province, Afghanistan, on March 7, 2013, in support of the 4th IBCT, or Task Force Vanguard, while in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The 6th Squadron’s unique composition as a specialized reconnaissance unit, comprised of infantry and cavalry scout Soldiers, allows for a flexible organization that can take on a variety of missions.
Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 6-8 Cav., not only supports the squadron’s headquarters operations but has two specialty platoons that constantly maneuvered throughout the area. The Security Platoon provided personal security for the squadron commander and command sergeant major while they conducted over 150 battlefield circulation missions. The Mortar Platoon conducted a wide variety of missions, from supporting the squadron with timely and accurate fires, to securing Patrol Base Pul-e-Alam in support of the Logar provincial government and then moving to an austere outpost to conduct counter-indirect fire patrols.
U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Christopher Williams, a Bloomington Ill., native with 6-8 Cav., spoke about what this deployment showed about today’s Soldiers. “They understand the strategic consequences of their actions and they are making the right decisions on the ground to prevent setting the Army back 10 years,” he said.
Troop A Soldiers conducted more than 500 missions to disrupt the enemy’s ability to fire rockets onto Forward Operating Base Shank. The three platoons of Troop A traveled more than 17,000 meters dismounted and 15,000 meters mounted. They also partnered with the Afghan National Army’s 1st Kandak, 4th Brigade, 203rd Corps, where they advised and assisted the ANA during the nine-month deployment.
Troop B was responsible for northern Logar Province, based at Combat Outpost McClain, and partnered with the ANA 7th Kandak, 4th Bde. The soldiers worked tirelessly over the last nine months to increase the ANA’s capacity to fight and win in the Mohammed Agha and Khoshi districts. Troop B Soldiers covered hundreds of miles mounted and dismounted between northern and eastern Logar, and they helped the ANA establish a new outpost in eastern Logar to disrupt enemy movement into the area.
The Soldiers of Troop C spent most of the deployment on COP Barak-i-Barak, disrupting enemy activities within the BBK district of Logar Province. Troop C Soldiers walked hundreds of miles on dismounted patrols with their Afghan counter-parts greatly increasing governance and security in the BBK district.
Co. D, 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th IBCT, attached to Task Force Mustang as a forward support company, supported the squadron’s efforts throughout the area of operations. Co. D traversed more than 2,700 miles, the equivalent to driving from New York City to Los Angeles, and provided some 240,000 meals and pushed 160,000 gallons of fuel to outstations in the province. Co. D Soldiers also maintained the squadron’s equipment and vehicles, ensuring the troops were ready for every mission and providing services on over 140 weapon systems, 900 radios, and 50 vehicles.
“The accomplishments achieved by the Soldiers have far superseded the expectations of a normal forward support company,” said U.S. Army Capt. Jeffery Sowecke, of Huron, Ohio, and the Co. D commander. “Facing a significant reduction in personnel strength prior to deployment caused Soldiers from every commodity section and platoon to work together as a cohesive unit in providing sustainment to the squadron. Throughout the deployment, the ‘Maddawgs’ constantly pushed themselves to the extreme, often providing logistical support under the most adverse conditions, including enemy contact.”
The infantrymen of Co. B, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT, had the opportunity to be attached to the cavalry squadron during the highly-kinetic fight. The Co. B infantrymen constantly patrolled an insurgent hotbed north of FOB Shank to deter indirect fire and enemy activity. The efforts of the infantrymen resulted in the construction of two observation posts near the village, which are now occupied by the Afghan National Army, to provide a constant presence to protect the local populace.
Throughout the deployment Task Force Mustang enabled the Afghan government and ANA to provide better security and service to the people of Logar Province. The Afghan National Security Forces now patrol unilaterally throughout the province, something they have not done before on such a large scale. The Soldiers of Task Force Mustang continue to work towards lasting peace in eastern Afghanistan.