News: California native deploys, conducts counterinsurgency, stability operations in Afghanistan
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rick Love, a Happy Valley, Calif., native, is deployed to Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kapisa province.
Love is stationed with the 509th Civil Engineer Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., but will serve a six-month tour with the PRT.
The Kapisa PRT covers an area of approximately 1,840 square kilometers of mountainous terrain, home to nearly 365,000 Afghans. Located just North of Kabul, Kapisa is the smallest province in the country, but has one of the highest populations per capita spread throughout seven districts.
The PRT has been conducting counterinsurgency and stability operations in the province for more than six years. Love, PRT engineer, and the team will be the last PRT in Kapisa.
Love and other mentors on the team have been working with leaders of Kapisa, at the provincial and district level, to bolster the capacity and credibility of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, or GIRoA.
With the help of an Army security force, PRT Kapisa traverses not only its own province but also the surrounding provinces of Parwan and Kabul participating in key leader engagements, scouting areas for new projects and performing quality checks and site visits on existing projects. They work closely with the Afghans, mentoring them on how GIRoA can work for them.
Love is a subject matter expert for all construction projects in the province. He has worked on roads, bridges, construction of schools and also improvements to power capabilities on existing infrastructure. He says the process for the projects is similar to that in the U.S.
“We create projects after we are notified of a need from the people in the province,” Love said. “We start the paperwork process and get contractor bids. Then once the project is started, we periodically visit the site to do quality checks with our counterparts.”
The Afghans get a chance to weigh in and make suggestions on the projects in their districts. This is an ideal way for Love to mentor his counterpart.
The PRT vision has always been to foster a stable and secure environment that is ready for transition to GIRoA control and administration, but now the last team in Kapisa is focusing on the sustainment of existing projects.
“This is probably my favorite out of seven deployments,” Love said. “We are doing a mission that is different than normal deployments, where we mostly do jobs on the base. Here, we get to go out and help the people of Afghanistan and assist the process of Afghans helping Afghans.”
The future of the province will reflect the legacy that the current team leaves and only time will tell. One thing that is for sure is the current successful operations in Kapisa reflect the hard work that has been done by Love and the PRT throughout the years.
Date Posted:05.25.2012 02:21
Location:KAPISA PROVINCE, AF
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