News: Afghan National Army, U.S. Forces conduct Operation Wake Forest
Story by Sgt. Matthew Thompson
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Afghan national army and U.S. forces cordoned off the village of Baraki Rajan in Logar province, Afghanistan, as they searched for high-value targets, Oct. 2.
Working in concert, an Afghan national army platoon and units from 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division blocked roads and questioned locals who were passing through the town.
"We saw good inter-unit operations on all levels," Babington said. "We were able to come together and operate cohesively on the battlefield in order to affect a positive result on the village."
The Soldiers stopped and questioned the residents of Baraki Rajan as they patrolled through the streets as to who they were, where they were going and where they had come from.
"In Afghanistan, there is no centralized system of identification," said Babington, a St. Louis, Mo., native. "There's no way to prove these people are who they are say they are except for the process we're about to go through."
U.S. forces have a tool at their disposal to combat this issue called the Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment. It's a small computer that captures biometric data such as fingerprints, iris scans and a front facial picture, which is consolidated in a large database.
"We enrolled as many people as we can into the HIIDE," said Spc. Travis Owen, a scout with 3-71 CAV who operates the HIIDE. "It gets a database of the local population."
According to Owen and Babington, the ANA are vital part of the U.S. efforts and interactions here.
"The Afghan national army soldiers are the ones who talk to the people and go into the houses first," said Owen, a Birmingham, Ala., native. "Not only do they speak the language, but they are also familiar with the culture," Babington added. "They really are our best liaison with the people."
According to Babington, the mentorship and partnership with the ANA and ANP helped enhance the mission.
"This operation was an example of how our ongoing mentoring with the ANA and ANP is developing them as a highly effective and positive military influence in our area of operation," Babington said. "The mission was a complete success due to our partnership with our local national forces and ability to operate multiple units in the same area at the same time."