News: 'Warhorse' brigade begins their partnerships in Afghanistan
Story by Spc. April York
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – A transfer of authority ceremony was held on Camp Nathan Smith June 19, which signifies the end of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division’s deployment and the beginning of their sister brigade 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division’s partnership with the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Afghanistan national security forces in Regional Command South.
During their deployment, Task Force Raider established a concrete partnership with GIRoA, Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army to create stability and security for the people of Afghanistan.
“Today is a significant day for the Raider Brigade – it is a day of transition,” said Col. Jeffrey R. Martindale, commander of 1st BCT. “It is a day where we say farewell to our Afghan partners and hand the torch to another team to continue the fight.”
“Make no mistake, the enemy is weak and on the run,” he said. “The enemy is afraid of the Afghan leaders sitting here today.”
When TF Raider assumed responsibility in August 2010 they were the first heavy brigade combat team in Afghanistan.
TF Raider performed duties at over 75 Forward Operating Bases, Combat Outposts, Police Substations and Access Control Points, while living and working alongside their Afghan brothers-in-arms. They participated in over 52,000 patrols, conducted over 10,000 Key Leader and Street Level Engagements, and found and destroyed over 800 improvised explosive devices.
Humanitarian efforts were also a priority. TF Raider completed more than 300 projects to include: renovations or new construction of 19 schools, five clinics and nine district centers. They also rebuilt seven villages and repaired more than 65 roads.
“It is my deepest hope that a better Afghanistan will emerge out of the warfare and bloodshed of the past,” Martindale said. “The future of this country rests on your shoulders, and I am proud to depart this country with able men like you in the lead.”
After the ‘Warhorse’ colors were uncased Col. John S. Kolasheski, commander of 2nd BCT, addressed the audience.
“Today marks an important event for Col. Martindale’s brigade and my own as we transition partner responsibilities for security, strengthening your government’s ability to meet the needs of its citizens, and encouraging economic development; it is not an important day for the Afghan people,” he said. “Life continues on as it has for thousands of years.”
“Thanks to your hard work and the assistance of Col. Martindale and his team, you have transformed Kandahar,” he said.
In an effort to connect with his Afghan brothers Kolasheski read a segment of a poem by Pashto poet Rahman Baba, “Sow flowers that your surroundings become a garden. Don’t sow thorns; for they will prick your own feet.”
From the poem he draws an analogy to make known his commitment and understanding of the Afghan people.
“There is an enemy committed to sowing thorns vice flowers. Combined Team Warhorse stands committed to being your partner and helping you sow a garden that all Afghans can enjoy and pass on to their children for generations to come,” he said. “The time is now to determine that future, and together, shoulder-to-shoulder, we will.”