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    Dog Company stands strong with ANA

    Dog Company stands strong with ANA

    Photo By 1st Lt. Eric-James Estrada | U.S. Army Pfc. LeMont Lucas, a paratrooper with 3rd Platoon, Dog Company, 3rd...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Eric-James Estrada 

    4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

    PAKTIYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army paratroopers and members of the Afghan National Army were attacked near a bazaar outside the village of Kharashi as they returned to Combat Outpost Zormat after completing a joint patrol.

    For the paratroopers of 3rd Platoon, Dog Company, 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, Task Force 3-509, leaving COP Zormat was a day like any other patrol outside the wire, where the possibility of an insurgent attack is always a high risk factor.

    Afghan National Army soldiers joined the paratroopers on this patrol with the objective to move throughout the surrounding villages of Kalian, Omar Kala and Kharashi to gather biometric data on the local villagers and check out an area where insurgents were killed days before by an Apache helicopter.

    While on patrol, the paratroopers and the ANA stopped and investigated the site where four insurgents were killed a few days prior. They were spotted planting improvised-explosive devices in a road near the villages of Omar Kala and Kalian.

    As the day was ending and night was looming, the patrol came to a close and the paratroopers and ANA soldiers were within 600 feet of the COP. Immediately and without warning, they took fire as they passed by the bazaar in the village of Kharashi, taking two rounds of effective fire from the North, North West. Immediately, members of the ANA returned fire. At the same time the patrol was fired on with three rounds from a rocket propelled grenade from the bazaar.

    As the firing had ceased, and 3rd Platoon began preparing to move back safely to the COP, they looked around and discovered that the ANA had already returned to the COP.

    “They need a little more discipline when they return fire,” said U.S. Army Spc. Kellam Tougias, a gunner with 3rd Platoon, hailing from Springfield, Mass., adding that there are many challenges when it comes to the formation of a new army.

    Once the firefight stopped, the paratroopers began to move back to COP Zormat.

    Platoon leader for 3rd Platoon, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Alan Saylor, hailing from Lexington, Ky., spoke on the ANA’s performance as one of continual growth. He said he sees needed improvements in formations and order of movements, but that they are continually learning. “Their initiative has definitely increased as far as taking the initiative and taking the lead,” said the native from Lexington, Ky.

    The paratroopers of TF 3-509 are part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, TF 4-25, from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. For the members of third platoon, they have established themselves time and again as hard chargers ready for action and able to overcome any obstacle.

    Saylor commented on his platoon’s proven ability to adjust the mission to the ever changing tasks of the battlefield, whether it’s leading the mission, or training the ANA in preparation for them taking charge of their country.

    “They [3rd Platoon] are capable of transitioning from taking the lead to assisting in training and follow on and support as they continue to show significant pride for their unit and company,” said Saylor.

    “We’re 3rd Platoon, Dog Company. We perform the best everyday any day of the week,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jacob Heeren, a squad leader with 3rd Platoon, hailing from Bloomfield, Iowa, who has been with the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division since the brigade stood up in 2005. “You want the best, you call third.”



    Date Taken: 05.30.2012
    Date Posted: 06.10.2012 05:33
    Story ID: 89734
    Hometown: LEXINGTON, KY, US
    Hometown: SPRINGFIELD, MA, US

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