News: Oklahoma Guardsman helps support Regional Command (South) mission
Story by Sgt. Antony Lee
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Spc. Justin Reinschmidt was only three days into his first deployment – at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan – when his platoon sergeant gathered him and his fellow unit members outside of his room.
The platoon sergeant started calling out assignments for the members of 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery, Oklahoma National Guard – assignments that differed from the multiple launch rocket system job they are trained to do.
Reinschmidt, a Burns Flat, Okla., native who lives in Chickasha, Okla., and one other service member that day were assigned to the Regional Command (South) headquarters personal security detail, a team that provides security and transportation for the RC(S) command group. Most members of the team – including Reinschmidt’s supervisors – are part of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo.
“At the time, I had no idea what PSD was,” Reinschmidt said, referring to the personal security detail acronym. “I’m really glad I got put in this platoon. It’s nice to be able to get out.”
When Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, visited Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Jan. 9, 2013, to meet with leaders and attend a historic all-female Afghan police graduation at the Joint Regional Afghan National Police Center, Reinschmidt and his fellow PSD members were called upon to support the visit. Maj. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, RC(S) and 4th Infantry Division commanding general, also attended the graduation.
Reinschmidt provided transportation during the mission for a linguist providing translation services for Breedlove and LaCamera. The mission went smoothly and the PSD successfully transported Breedlove, LaCamera and several other leaders from KAF to their destinations and back.
“The big thing here in driving or dismounting is don’t be timid,” Reinschmidt said. “Be confident.”
At the end of the mission – before Breedlove boarded a plane to leave southern Afghanistan – he handed out coins to the PSD members and thanked them for their support.
During his time as a member of this security team, Reinschmidt has earned the respect of his supervisors, including Sgt. Kari Anglin, who is stationed at Fort Carson.
“Reinschmidt is very well-mannered and good-natured,” Anglin, Reinschmidt’s squad leader, said. “He is a quick learner who is working outside of his [military occupational specialty]. It has been an easy transition for him.”
His team leader, Spc. Cordell Covington, another Fort Carson soldier, said Reinschmidt is an “easygoing, hardworking” soldier who gets the job done.
“He’s an overall good guy,” Covington said.
For as long as Reinschmidt has been a part of the RC(S) headquarters PSD team – about three months – he has steered free of incidents and encounters with the enemy.
“We hear distant gunshots and explosions and it turns out to be the range,” he said, adding that it is a “very good thing” there have been no incidents.
Reinschmidt also said he believes in the mission coalition forces currently have in Afghanistan: train, advise and assist the Afghans as they continue to take the lead on providing security for the country.
“It’s the smartest thing to do. We’re assisting them to be self sufficient,” he said.
Reinschmidt added that he believes in his own mission as a member of the RC(S) headquarters PSD team.
“I really feel like what we’re doing here is important – helping to protect the [command group] and supporting them in their mission,” he said, adding that he is grateful for the opportunity to work with the 4th Infantry Division soldiers. “I feel like I’m actually a part of this unit now. Time has flown by.”