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    Strike Blitz: Tactical Call Out

    Strike Blitz: Tactical Call Out

    Photo By Sgt. Joe Padula | A Strike medic and a Strike Interpreter with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry...... read more read more

    FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – In regards to the Afghan populace, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said, "If the people are against us, we cannot be successful. If the people view us as occupiers and the enemy, we can't be successful and our casualties will go up dramatically."

    This quote from the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, explains that winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people is what will secure victory in the process of defeating the enemy.

    The damage caused when doors are brutally kicked in, livestock destroyed from firefights directly outside of villages and above all, innocent life is lost during attacks from the insurgency on Coalition forces, has an irreversibly negative impact on the local populace and can turn what could have been supporting allies into a determined enemy.

    In order to be successful in accordance with McChrystal's counterinsurgency plan, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), fights to win the hearts and minds of Afghanistan by conducting tactical call out training missions while preparing for its upcoming deployment.

    During the latest Strike Blitz, which is a 2nd BCT designed combat focused physical training session that takes a company and all of its Soldiers and puts them into a deployment scenario, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, preformed a tactical call out mission when searching for a Taliban high value target.

    "A tactical call out is a non-lethal approach to getting a target out of a village, where instead of using bullets, we use the village elders to bring the insurgents out," said Capt. Michael Miller, the company commander. "This way does not disrupt the life of the town nor the relations we build."

    The call outs consists of coalition forces supporting the Afghan national police and the Afghan national army in face-to-face dealings with village elders when searching a community for insurgents and in Afghanistan, the village elders are the most important leaders within the towns and have much influence on what takes place inside the village.

    "Asking the village elder also empowers that local leader and legitimizes his control to his villagers," said Miller. "It shows that the key leader is in command of the area and not the Taliban."

    When successful, tactical call outs have great ramifications; enemy targets are captured without the exchange of fire and no collateral damage and relations between coalition and that village are stronger, but it does not always happen smoothly.

    "Things can go wrong during a tactical call out; receiving enemy fire, the target does not come out or the town elders do not let you in," said 1st Sgt. Roderick Forde, the company's first sergeant for over a year now. "Remaining positive and having a working relation and building comfort between the multinational forces and the Afghan national police, the ANA and the Afghan people will create success."

    Building relations with coalition forces and the Afghans will not just come from talking with the village elders alone, but talking with the village elders in their native tongue. Company D currently has Soldiers enrolled in language training courses teaching the fundamentals of Afghanistan's two official languages, Dari and Pashto.

    "Language training is going to help us out big time," said Forde. "Communicating with the ANA and the Afghan people will make the mission easier and more effective. Speaking Pashto and Dari is going to bring great success to us."

    During Delta Company's tactical call out mission, some local nationals received wounds caused by indirect enemy fire. The company's medics tended to their casualties.

    "When treating local nationals, they receive the same protocols of the Soldier," said Spc. William Pickel, the company's senior medic. "And with the permission of the elders we will treat the locals to the best of our capabilities or assist with the treatment."

    Just because the mission's overall intent is non-lethal, it doesn't make it less difficult when operating. Much planning, patience and discipline are needed when conducting such missions.

    "Going to a non-lethal fight is always a challenge," said Miller. "We train for the lethal battle all the time like with Eagle Flights I, II and III so at any point in time if that non-lethal fight does become lethal, we have the skill set to resolve the conflict, but not everything has to be kinetic or lethal."

    By using all of the tools the Strike Soldier has to offer, lethal or non-lethal, the Strike Brigade will head into its deployment with a vision of unity with its Afghan counterparts and the Afghan people.

    Instead of going in with 'guns-a-blazing;' going in and showing support to Afghanistan, the GIRoA and assisting ANSF and the Afghan government, victories can be won beyond that of the current operation, said Miller.



    Date Taken: 04.21.2010
    Date Posted: 04.21.2010 22:55
    Story ID: 48485
    Location: FORT CAMPBELL, KY, US

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