News: Soldiers train to protect US consulate
Story by Capt. Andrew Cochran
SHINDAD AIR BASE, Afghanistan - Aviators with 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Demon and soldiers with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have continued to train in support of their overall mission of providing protection of a small piece of the U.S. in Afghanistan – the consulate in Herat.
The two units assumed the role of quick reaction force in October and are primarily responsible for the consulate, with the secondary duty of securing other important areas at the order of International Security Assistance Forces-led Regional Command (West).
Col. Matthew Lewis, commander of the 1st CAB, spoke about the role Task Force Demon plays in that mission.
“Task Force Demon stands ready to quickly respond to a variety of security threats against the U.S. consulate in Herat province,” Lewis said. “We provide an aerial reaction capability to reinforce onsite security forces, protect the consulate staff and provide a means for the immediate evacuation of the consulate, depending on the nature of the threat and the situation.”
Task Force Nightmare, which falls under TF Demon, is no stranger to the political nature of defending the consulate.
During a complex attack on Sept. 13, 2013 by insurgents at the Herat consulate, roads leading into the area were closed or blocked by fighting. Task Force Nightmare flew in supplies and additional security assistance, and evacuated the consulate’s injured workers until the area was secured and deemed safe by ISAF and Afghanistan National Army personnel.
When asked about assuming this high profile security mission, Task Force Nightmare’s commander, Lt. Col. Fred Dufault, is adamant about its importance.
“It is in our interest to protect the consulate’s diplomats and what they represent,” said Dufault. “The consulate is a statement to people of Afghanistan and the world on how connected and committed we are to this country.”
Task Force Nightmare’s dedicated assistance to protecting America’s diplomats and consulate personnel earned a personal “thank you” letter from James B. Cunningham, ambassador to Afghanistan.
Capt. Michael Porges, commander of Troop A, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, whose troops operate as the ground force element, sees the affect from his level through his interaction with the consulate’s security agents.
“It is a great opportunity to train and execute missions with the Task Force Nightmare team,” Porges said. “In this dynamic operational environment, Task Force Nightmare facilitates Apache Troop's combined armed efforts, and the State Department’s security agents are impressed with the teamwork and dynamic approach the U.S. Army is bringing to protect the consulate.”