By Spc. Nathan W. Hutchison
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Local and international media representatives visited Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Tuesday for a command-hosted media day organized by members of the Combined Joint Task Force-82 Public Affairs Section and Media Operations Center.
The media were greeted at the gate and airfield by public affairs personnel and escorted to the Jirga Center for an introduction to CJTF-82 leadership.
Army Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, commanding general, 82nd Airborne Division and Combined Joint Task Force-82, addressed the 28 media day attendees on the mission and commitment to the Afghan people.
"Media specialists play a key role in supporting free speech and the capability to keep the people of Afghanistan informed," said Rodriguez.
The reporters were then invited into the Egyptian and Korean hospitals, the main contributors in treating injured and ill Afghan citizens.
Several military leaders briefed the media on the efforts by American and Coalition forces to ensure safety and security while providing aid to Afghanistan in a continuously hazardous, and sometimes hostile, environment.
Additional briefings included operations and intelligence, projects and education in Kapisa and Parwan provinces, the rewards program for weapons information, improvised explosive device awareness and media on the battlefield.
After lunch, the media was driven to the flight-line where Army Staff Sgt. Albert Culanding and his team gave a demonstration on escalation of force.
This event involved tactical military vehicles and support from several Army personnel.
"It's good to let the media and local people know the steps we take to ensure their safety, as well as that of their families," said Culanding, a mobile reaction force section leader.
Culanding said that their (Soldiers) job is to find and prevent potential threats, but the sanctity of innocent lives is a major priority.
The media also saw aircraft used by coalition forces in Afghanistan.
"The media day was very good, and it's nice for us to be involved in the military and coalition activity," said Ahmad Hanish, a reporter from Radio Liberty.
Hanish said the Afghan people are uninformed so they don't always differentiate between the Russian forces before and coalition forces here now.
"This is quite different, so it is our job to inform the people about their (coalition forces) efforts, said Hanish. "The Afghan people get the wrong idea about foreign forces, so when they hear about the achievements of coalition forces it is very good.
"This should have begun years ago; to get the media involved and the information to the people. It was a wonderful idea."