News: Task Force Vanguard changes mission, cases colors as they depart Afghanistan
Story by Maj. Matthew Fontaine
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division cased its colors Nov. 21 on Forward Operating Base Shank as it ends its mission in Afghanistan and hands responsibility for Logar and Wardak provinces to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
Task Force Vanguard deployed to Regional Command East in March 2013 and was responsible for developing the 4th Brigade, 203rd Corps of the Afghan National Army, securing Highway 1 and supporting the U.S. drawdown in eastern Afghanistan.
“This brigade, in concert with their Afghan partners, has defeated the enemy at every step,” said Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-101 and RC-East.
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Yaftali, commander of the 203rd Corps, was among many distinguished guests from the Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, to show their support for Task Force Vanguard at the end of the nine-month deployment.
Yaftali delivered a speech in which he said the Vanguard Brigade’s support to the 203rd Corps and the Afghan people during their deployment was excellent.
During the deployment, soldiers from the Vanguard brigade partnered with Afghan soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 203rd Corps to secure Logar and Wardak provinces, removing many Enemies of Afghanistan from the battlefield.
Together, the two brigades safeguarded Afghan civilians and secured the southern approach to Kabul.
Vanguard soldiers also worked with Afghan police to secure Highway 1, the main highway from Kabul to Kandahar and an important artery for Afghan commerce and the U.S. retrograde of personnel and equipment.
The development of the Afghan forces was spearheaded by the brigade’s Security Forces Advise and Assist Team. Under their mentorship, the Afghan soldiers made significant advances in their ability to use indirect fire and close air support, finding improvised explosive devices, and performing maintenance on their vehicles and equipment.
The Afghan brigade’s leadership and staff also improved their planning, intelligence gathering and battle tracking skills, leading several major operations in Logar and Wardak, including two into the Tangi Valley, a known insurgent stronghold.
Task Force Vanguard also managed a redistribution hub at FOB Shank which supported the south of Kabul region. The hub received equipment from smaller U.S. bases. It was sorted and processed for return to the U.S., reduced to scrap, or sold to Afghans.
Soldiers from the brigade, who lost nine comrades to enemy action during the rotation, earned many valorous awards, purple hearts and combat badges during the thousands of missions they carried out.
“The brigade’s efforts set the conditions for victory in the next fighting season,” added McConville.
Following their return to Fort Stewart, Ga., reintegration with families, and a period of extended leave, the brigade will take on new leadership and begin training for their next mission, whatever that may be.
This work, Task Force Vanguard changes mission, cases colors as they depart Afghanistan, by MAJ Matthew Fontaine, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.