CAMP NATHAN SMITH, Afghanistan - In the weeks leading up to Christmas, hundreds of soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. By the end of January, 2013, more than 2,500 soldiers from the Combined Team Ready First will be on ground in Afghanistan.
All soldiers deploying have a mandatory layover in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, where they attend an Afghan country brief and roll-over training in a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP). After training is complete, the Air Force transports soldiers from Manas to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. While at KAF, they conduct training, this time in counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED), and a zeroing range for their weapons.
When not in training at Kandahar, soldiers can enjoy several dining facilities, MWR facilities, a basketball court, and a boardwalk with numerous restaurants and shops, including a TGI Friday’s.
The soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st BCT, 1st AD, further travelled by CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Camp Nathan Smith, located in Kandahar City. The company, which supports the entire brigade, is scheduled to remain here for the duration of its deployment.
Private 1st Class Lacey Curl, HHC BDE, is on her first deployment in the two years she has been in the Army. Curl, who works between the orderly room and the mayor’s cell, helps keep the forward-operating base functioning throughout the deployment.
The mayor's cell manages the local nationals at Camp Nathan Smith, like laborers, crane workers and septic workers. “Each of us here has their own designated section, and we go out and assist the local nationals,” said Curl.
Aside from continuing college, Curl wants to help maintain organization within the brigade during her deployment.
“My goal is to accomplish organization and accountability for the soldiers within the unit and the local nationals,” said Curl. “We conduct the organization for all work orders to ensure the FOB is in good working order.”
Another important job within the brigade belongs to Sgt. Marie Swift. As a geospatial engineer, Swift creates maps, tactical decision aids, and two- and three-dimensional products.
“Our products allow commanders and staff at all levels to visualize the battlefield terrain, and see everything overall,” said Swift.
“Through our products, our goal while we are in Afghanistan is to reduce injuries or casualties as a result of improvised explosive devices,” said Swift.
While the transition to Afghanistan has been hectic, the brigade is on track for mission accomplishment in Afghanistan.