News: Soldiers work together for Afghans and themselves
Story by Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan -Southern Afghanistan in June is no stranger to temperatures rising well into triple digits. Despite the domineering sun, soldiers persevere, continuing missions day after day, until the mission is complete.
“There is no real way to get your mind out of the heat other than to focus on the tasks at hand,” said Sgt. Dustin Spratt, Alpha team leader, 320th Military Police Company, attached to the 115th MP Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division. “The excessive temperatures are a drawback due to the constant possibility of heat-related issues, but the risks are constantly mitigated as much as possible to complete our vitally important mission of assisting the people of Afghanistan.”
Spratt, a native of Tampa, FL., alongside his fellow soldiers, works with the Afghan Uniform Police on missions regularly.
“Our relationship is very strong with the AUP,” said 1st Lt. Charles Johnson, platoon leader, and also a native of Tampa, FL.
Johnson cites the success of their missions due to the fact that they work “shohna ba shohna,” or, “shoulder to shoulder,” with the AUP four to five times a week.
“We have noticed the AUP has increased their presence in our immediate area of operations,” said Johnson.
The missions conducted by Johnson and his platoon have had a direct impact on the increased presence of the AUP. Soldiers have constructed new checkpoints and enhanced the force protection of the existing checkpoints, said Johnson.
Not only are the missions helping the Afghans reach their goal toward independence, the American Soldiers are also constantly improving themselves through working together.
“I firmly believe that the missions we conduct have shown our soldiers the importance of teamwork and given them an extreme level of confidence in not only themselves, but the entire squad,” said Spratt.
“The soldiers here in the 320th MP Company have a great working relationship, both professional and personal,” said Johnson. “This camaraderie keeps the Soldiers focused on the mission and creates an environment that produces lower levels of stress.”