News: Stitching peace at COP Delorean
Story by Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace
By Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace
RC-West Media Combat Team
BALA MURGHAB, Afghanistan - Merely two days after a deadly assault on their compound, soldiers from the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment operating in southern Bala Murghab, begin to rekindle peace efforts here.
Waves of insurgents attacked Combat Outpost Delorean, Bala Murghab (BMG), Baghdis province, Afghanistan, Jan. 6.
They attacked from three different directions with small-arms fire and launched two rocket propelled grenades at the COP.
By Jan. 8, the White Platoon, Bulldog Troop, soldiers were already administering medical care and other outreach initiatives to local Afghans, all the while keeping their heads on a swivel and staying vigilant to enemy attacks.
The White Platoon soldiers who built and fight from COP Delorean and Observation Post Cougar, (an overwatch for Delorean) hail from 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo.
The soldiers frequently perform combat foot patrols and are engaged in kinetic activities. They know that security must be established before development can follow.
However, when they are not engaged in kinetics, they perform counter-insurgency operations, development initiatives, and Jan. 8 their medic bolstered their standing among the local elders by stitching up one of their child's heads.
When 10-year-old Abdul Hagh gashed his head open while playing with his friends, his father knew just what to do, and brought him to see White Platoon.
Spc. Oscar Castro, White Platoon medic, quickly gathered medical supplies, applied an anesthetic to the boy's head, and stitched up his wound.
Meanwhile, another soldier gathered candy to cheer up the wounded child after Castro finished stitching him up.
"We frequently give medical aid to the local population," said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Nicholas Castello, White Platoon leader. "We do our patrols dismounted (not in vehicles) so the local population can see that face-to-face, we are human beings too."
His methods have proven successful in southern BMG because village elders are quick to come inform the platoon when someone new arrives or something is out of place.
Despite that, insurgents from outside the BMG "security bubble" continue to encroach the bubble's perimeter, harass villagers and attack the COP.
This makes White Platoons task of day-by-day continuing to create relationships, and a better life for local villagers, a difficult one.
Despite the difficulty of their mission, Castello and his soldiers continue to rebuild as the insurgents destroy - even if that means stitching up one head at a time.