News Icon

News: Police call in the desert?: It’s an Army cleanup not a crime scene

Story by Sgt. Francis O'BrienSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Police call in the desert?: It’s an Army cleanup not a crime scene Staff Sgt. Francis O'Brien

A 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment soldier tosses trash into a burn pit set up by Afghan National Army soldiers outside Checkpoint 3 as part of the five-day, anti-Taliban Operation Fairbanks route clearing mission in Zabul province, Afghanistan, Sept. 14. Pollution prevention is a key component of the U.S. Army Environmental Command doctrine, federal law and executive orders.

ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The U.S. Army, like the Boy Scouts and many camping enthusiasts, practices the motto, “Leave an area better than you found it.” Soldiers from the Fort Wainwright-based 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, even in the midst of the five day, anti-Taliban route clearing Operation Fairbanks, still found time to “police call” the Afghanistan desert Sept. 14.

Police call is military slang for an organized trash search and removal detail. As part of Operation Fairbanks, soldiers cleared local roads of improvised explosive devices, destroyed weapons caches, constructed four checkpoints in partnership with Afghan National Army soldiers as well as picked up, burned or hauled away stray trash.

“We always take away our own trash,” said Spc. Nicholas Hinnenkamp, a 68W Army health care specialist from New Richland, Minn., a soldier assigned to pick up empty water bottles. “It’s our policy. The ANA burns theirs.”

“With the route open, we’ll be able to do convoy resupply to our soldiers in Mizan, which is more environmentally sound than air drops,” said executive officer of Charlie Company, 1-24th, Capt. Joseph M. Lapointe, a Jericho, Vt. native.

“Also, our environmental impact with this mission is small.” added Lapointe. “For the construction of the first two checkpoints, we used existing structures. We’re not tearing up the countryside. We’re using existing materials such as sand in the construction, and employing local workers and contractors,” he said.

“We’re not taking anything away from the local populace. The only thing we’re putting in the ground is some wire,” Lapointe said.

The checkpoints, built in partnership by U.S. and Afghan troops, are made of HESCO barriers, wire mesh baskets lined with heavy fabric and filled with sand and dirt scooped from the desert floor. HESCO barriers are a common blast protection feature used on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and are also deployed in the U.S. to fight floods.

It could be said that the Army policy of leaving an area better than you found it can be applied to Operation Fairbanks itself, which aims to clear Route Chicken of IED’s between Qalat, the provincial capital, and Mizan, the district seat, denying the Taliban bribe revenue and freedom of movement, and allowing the civilian populace to enjoy the ability to move goods freely throughout the district.

“Our goal is not only to show the Afghan police and army that the route is open, but also to show the populace and the insurgents that the route is open to daily traffic,” said Capt. Jeremy S. Medaris, 1-24th Charlie Company commander.

Whether it be by removing IED’s or empty water bottles, U.S. Soldiers are cleaning up Afghanistan.


Connected Media
ImagesPolice call in the...
A 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment soldier tosses...
ImagesPolice call in the...
Spc. Nicholas Hinnenkamp, a New Richland, Minn. native...


Web Views
234
Downloads
1

Podcast Hits
0



Public Domain Mark
This work, Police call in the desert?: It’s an Army cleanup not a crime scene, by SSG Francis O'Brien, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:09.14.2011

Date Posted:09.30.2011 06:46

Location:MIZAN DISTRICT, AFGlobe

News Tags

Options

  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard

HOLIDAY GREETINGS

SELECT A HOLIDAY:

VIDEO ON DEMAND

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr