SHINDAND AIRBASE, Afghanistan- The 704th Engineer Company (Clearance) transferred authority as the only route clearance company in western Afghanistan to the 576th Clearance Company, at Shindand Airbase in the Farah providence, Sept. 21, 2013.
U.S., Afghan and coalition forces across Regional Command-West (RC-W) have had freedom of movement and maneuver the past nine months thanks to the 704th Eng. Co., Task Force Saw. As the RC-W route clearance asset, they were vital to the success of the Italian units and Special Operations TF working in that region.
The 704th Eng. Co. arrived in Afghanistan in January 2013 and quickly assumed the clearance mission of critical main supply routes and combat operations. They have cleared over 25,269 miles, conducted more than 354 combat route clearance patrols, found and reduced 24 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and participated in over 14 named combat operations .
The lasting impact of the 704th Eng. Co. will be seen in the success of Afghan National Army Engineers in the 207th Corps Engineer Kandak (CEK) and the 215th CEK. The 704th Eng. Co. maintained a habitual and frequent partnership over the largest footprint in TF Saw.
During their time in country, the 704th Eng. Co. mentored and trained over 200 Afghan soldiers across two regional commands. Their accomplishments included the successful validation of 2nd Route Clearance Co., 2nd Brigade, 207th Corps, ANA, and the building of counter IED training lanes for a Marine Advisory Team near Deleram. The efforts of the engineers in both training and combined arms operations with the ANA greatly enhanced the transition of security to their Afghan counterparts.
The 704th Eng. Co. wraps up their time in Afghanistan and passes on all route clearance operations throughout western Afghanistan to the 576th Clearance Company.
Capt. Joshua W. Yarbrough, 704th Co. Commander, referenced a quote from Helen Keller “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Yarbrough continued, reflecting on the challenges his Soldiers faced during their deployment, “I truly believe that our time here was a challenge, that our character was truly developed, and that we cleared the path for the future success of the Afghan people.”