NEW KABUL COMPOUND, Afghanistan – Ensuring a military base runs smoothly is a complex task for most, but for 16 soldiers of the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, South Dakota Army National Guard, serving others comes easy and rewarding.
As the Kabul Base Cluster Installation Command, the 196th provides sustainment support for nearly 9,000 U.S and coalition forces stationed throughout 11 military bases in the city of Kabul.
About 1,000 of these personnel are stationed at New Kabul Compound. As the Base Support Group of NKC, the soldiers of the 196th provide oversight on everything from security and base defense operations, service and construction contracts, to billeting and supplying fuel and water for the tenants.
“We make sure the camp is always running smoothly,” said Master Sgt. Terry Helget, NKC non-commissioned officer in charge. “Everyone chips in and we do a lot of cross training to make sure servicemembers and other tenants living and working here are taken care of.”
“When a soldier needs something done, whether it is fixing showerheads or repairing generators, we do what needs to be done to ensure soldiers have peace of mind knowing their living quarters are safe and secure,” added Helget of Tea, S.D. “If the contracting company (Fluor) can’t do it right away, then someone from the BSG is always willing to help out and go fix whatever it is; no matter what the rank is, we all pitch in.”
One unit the BSG continues to support here is the headquarters of United States Forces-Afghanistan, an important command and control element for U.S. forces fighting the war throughout Afghanistan.
With many senior-level leaders stationed on the camp, maintaining a positive and professional relationship with the command is key to a successful working atmosphere, said Helget.
“USFOR-A continues to give us compliments about how we do business and supports us on how we are running the camp,” said Helget.
“I am pleased with the relationship we have established with USFOR-A,” said Maj. Thomas Krull, deputy mayor of NKC. “The chief of staff and the command sergeant major of USFOR-A said they are very pleased with the progress we are making here and they have made comments about the SDARNG being among the best that they have worked with.”
The BSG also supports other units on camp and helps improve the base to make it a better place than when the group arrived. Base improvements so far include graveling the camp, improving force protection measures, setting up an arms room and ensuring new construction projects are on track.
“It’s been great working with both Fluor on the civilian side and USFOR-A in trying to make this camp a better place,” said Krull of Sioux Falls, S.D.
After the completion of the new administrative and housing buildings, NKC will be a state of the art camp in Kabul. The improvements and the willingness to help tenants when they need it are everyday occurrences for this group.
“We work very well as a team,” said Helget. “We are the one-stop shop for things that happen here on camp. ‘Khostan Tawanestan,’ a popular motto in the Dari language used by USFOR-A, which means ‘we can, we will,’ fits the BSG well, because we can provide support to NKC and we will provide the best support we can.”
“I’m glad to have the crew that we have with us,” said Krull. “We operate very well together and we are doing great things for the camp.”
This work, New Kabul Compound Base Support Group does just that; supports, by 2LT Rebecca Linder, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.