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    CJTF Paladin ends mission in Afghanistan

    CJTF Paladin ends mission in Afghanistan

    Photo By Ed Drohan | Members of Combined Joint Task Force Paladin stand in formation during the CJTF...... read more read more



    Story by Ed Drohan 

    Combined Joint Task Force Paladin

    BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – A chapter in Afghanistan operations history closed Dec. 15 with the end of mission ceremony for Combined Joint Task Force Paladin.

    Paladin has provided explosive ordnance disposal and counter improvised explosive device expertise and training for U.S., coalition and Afghan National Security Forces since July 2005 when it was instituted as a Counter IED defeat command here. The ceremony saw the colors cased for both Paladin and the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD), the unit currently deployed from Fort Campbell, Ky., and designated as CJTF Paladin headquarters.

    Closing the Paladin headquarters and redeploying its members is in line with the president’s tasking to reduce the number of military members in Afghanistan during the current winter season. While the headquarters will be disbanded, much of the mission will continue under the control of the 242nd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), formerly a CJTF Paladin subordinate unit.

    Brig. Gen. James Blackburn, the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command deputy commander for separates, said Paladin qualities can be summed up in three words – courageous, adaptive and resolute.

    “While these words independently would be a great descriptor of any unit, these three particular words together form the perfect trifecta which describes Combined Joint Task Force Paladin, and the fantastic job they’ve done during their time here specifically under the leadership of (Col.) Mo Quick and Command Sgt. Maj. (Harold) Dunn,” Blackburn said.

    The general praised Paladin EOD technicians for the work they do on the battlefield.

    “I mean of all the combat operations, the battlefield circulation I’ve done, I’ve never seen anyone go and go…tap tap tap…Hey sarge, get off that IED, I got it,” Blackburn said. “Nobody goes and does the tap out with the EOD technician while he’s over the top of that IED. It takes an exceptionally courageous person to be able to approach a bomb and quickly and effectively render it inert. A unique courage – faint of heart and unskilled need not apply.”

    Col. Marue (Mo) Quick, the CJTF Paladin commander, also praised the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, civilians and contractors who make up the unit.

    “Duty, honor and country, so much more than words – a testament to who you are, a battle cry as we’ve executed the CJTF Paladin mission to save coalition and Afghan lives and prevent the insurgency from effectively utilizing IEDs,” Quick said. “You are the supporting arm, the helping hand, the strength of a friend coming to save others from the monsters that plague them in the middle of the night. And for that reason, you are indispensable. You’ve joined a very rare few who’ve put everything on the line. It has been my absolute honor to serve with you. It is my honor to recognize you today.”

    Quick summarized the missions Paladin members conducted since May when the 52nd OD (EOD) assumed responsibility for operations in Afghanistan.

    “CJTF Paladin by the numbers: Sixty locations, 48 units supported throughout five regional commands; supported 848 named operations; 523 cache finds; executed 1,397 EOD combat operations, including 127 cache exploitations, 227 post blast, disrupted over 300 improvised explosive devices; destroyed 130,000 pounds of (homemade explosives); embedded in over 937 route clearance and combined arms patrols traveling in excess of 58,458 miles; executed 168 ANSF train, advise, assist operations; and supported justice for our fallen,” Quick said. “All the while training and executing combat operations in some of the deadliest and most dangerous areas of Afghanistan. CJTF Paladin, you rock!

    “Thank you for your superb execution, your dedication and your hard work. I am truly proud to be one of you, and you should be proud of what you do each and every day in selfless service to our nation,” Quick said. “You are true American heroes – none braver. We are part of a proud tradition, a force to be reckoned. CJTF Paladin, 52nd Ordnance Group Explosive Ordnance Disposal, you make it happen each and every day, and on behalf of a grateful nation, I thank you.”



    Date Taken: 12.15.2013
    Date Posted: 12.15.2013 06:58
    Story ID: 118242
    Location: BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF 
    Hometown: FORT CAMPBELL, KY, US

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