PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The 18th Engineer Brigade, Task Force Sword, out of Heidelberg, Germany, received a visit from their major Command’s senior enlisted July 12 at Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan.
Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer Roy M. Maddocks Jr., command senior enlisted leader with United States European Command from Hartford, Conn., visited TF Sword, as they begin their second deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
He received a brief at TF Sword’s command post, but was more interested in speaking to soldiers. He said he wanted to know what enlisted leaders had to say about the constantly changing circumstances in the region and how they were adapting.
Maddocks reiterated President Obama’s intent for the U.S. military transition to support and withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014. He stressed in order for it to happen, coalition forces must sufficiently train the Afghan National Security Force to be fully capable of taking over responsibilities sooner rather than later.
TF Sword Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Clark, of Knoxville, Tenn., expanded on Maddocks point, “There’s no doubt about it-we are engaged in combat; we must relentlessly pursue the enemy; and we must be aggressive at times. However, we must remember that in order to win this war, we must stay focused on our mission and continue to build our partnerships here.”
TF Sword’s campaign plan focuses on creating enduring partnerships with both military and civil Afghan units. Route clearance patrols will teach and mentor their Afghan counterparts to be able to patrol the rounds independently and construction units will create similar partnerships within the construction arena.
Throughout the visit, Maddocks passionately said, “We’d rather fight, than write!” He explained the task force is not here to sit in the office to do paperwork. Instead he insisted, it is here to get out and work hand in hand, to teach the ANSF to operate without NATO assistance, and to show Afghans how to secure their own routes and construct and maintain their environment.
Rounding out his visit, Maddocks met with the 370th Engineer Company (Sapper) and Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team. The 370th Eng. Co. showed Maddocks some of their specialized equipment, how it is operated, and some of the drawbacks to each.
Paktika PRT, whose goal is to advise Afghans and prepare them to be independent in the future without coalition involvement, visited and discussed some of their current projects with Maddocks.
Although Maddocks visit was short, Clark said, “It was great to have our senior enlisted leader from EUCOM visit our task force. I am extremely proud of the hard work and very long hours each Sword soldier has put in up to now, but many challenges still lie ahead of us.”