News: Slugger arrives in Kunar
Story by Sgt. Eric Provost
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Slugger, formally began its advise and assist mission in Afghanistan’s Kunar province at Forward Operating Base Wright during a transfer of authority ceremony, July 27.
The 3rd Squadron replaces 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Bastogne Brigade’s 1st Special Troops Battalion and the 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, known as the “No Slack” Battalion.
“We’ve hit a period of time that’s the right time to go through a transition,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. James Deore, commander of Task Force Slugger and Combined Team Kunar. “One of the hardest things the Army does is to transition from one operation to another operation and they [the units we’re replacing] have done very well.”
Deore, who served as the operations officer with the No Slack Battalion when they deployed to Iraq in 2008, says he couldn’t have asked for a more professional organization to follow.
Slugger’s mission in Afghanistan, going into 2014, will be continuing to advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces in becoming a fully self-sustaining fighting force.
U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. James Collins, the senior enlisted adviser for 3rd Squadron, said his soldiers are motivated and are looking forward to getting after the mission. He credits the ANSF with the growth they’ve shown over the last few years.
“They’re doing a good job now. They’re a lot further along than a lot of people probably think,” said Collins.
Task Force Slugger, based out of Fort Polk, La., trained for their advise and assist mission for more than a year, leading up to the deployment with help from Polk’s Joint Readiness Training Center. Often units are sent to JRTC on a single rotation prior to deployment, 3rd Squadron routinely augmented JRTC rotations getting added experience for their deployment.
“I believe the 10th Mountain Division picked the right people to be in charge of this mission, Task Force Slugger has hit the ground running,” said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Fernandez, senior enlisted adviser for the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
Deore said by the time they leave Kunar province next year, he wants to see the security in there reach a level that is fully sustainable by the Afghan forces.
“I think success would be a shake of the hand, a fond farewell from the leaders here and the last thing that is said to us is ‘Thank you for all the effort you’ve put in. We’re in a good position. We no longer need your support’,” said Deore.
Slugger is a part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Patriot. Task Force Patriot will finish its transfer of authority with 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division later this week and recently assumed responsibility from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division for their areas of operation, as well. Task Force Patriot is responsible for the advise and assist mission in all of Regional Command East north of Kabul.