News: ‘Arctic Wolves’ and Afghan counterparts celebrate Eid ul-Flitr
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - International Security Assistance Force soldiers with 25th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, partnered with the Afghan National Army’s 5th Kandak, 1-205th Corps, to celebrate Eid ul-Flitr on Forward Operating Base Hero, in southern Kandahar province, Afghanistan, last week.
Eid ul-Flitr is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, a Muslim holy month where Muslims fast in an effort to draw closer and refocus themselves on God. The EID ul-Flitr celebration is typically celebrated for one to three days and includes a number of traditional activities such as prayer and feasting.
For the Afghan members of the 5th Kandak, and the Alaska based 1/25th SBCT, the celebration kicked off as senior leaders from both organizations discussed training and partnership efforts over cups of hot tea.
“It is through events like this that we are able to grow our relationship with our Afghan partners that will lend itself to the trust required for the mentorship mission to be successful,” said. Lt. Col. John McMurray, 25th BSB commander, adding, “this event, and ones like this, always strengthen the already strong relationship.”
The two partnered forces made sure to take care of business early so that they could press on to less serious matters. Immediately following their tea, ANA soldiers and ISAF soldiers gathered around a common table to enjoy a traditional Afghan meal of lamb, chicken, fruit, vegetables and bread.
“To our partners, sharing a meal like this is as important as sharing the mission,” McMurray said.
After the tour was complete, U.S. and Afghan soldiers hit the sand pit for a game of volleyball. The success of the celebration was found on the smiling faces of both the teams, as they built what the Army likes to call esprit de corps, a word whose definition means to have a feeling of pride, fellowship and common loyalty shared by the members of a particular group.
“Overall, a great event, even if we will never beat them in volleyball,” McMurray said with a laugh.
McMurray felt that the invitation extended to them by Talib and the ANA to join them in the Eid ul-fitr celebration demonstrated the success of the U.S. mentorship and partnership program; further cementing and establishing its trust and camaraderie amongst the ISAF and ANA leadership.