Sunday, December 19, 2010

SOLDIERS CARVE NEW BASE IN MAIWANT, COMBAT OUTPOST AZIZULLAH


COMBAT OUTPOST AZIZULLAH, KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN – Capt. Mark Ross, the commanding officer of Company G, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, prepares for a mission at Combat Outpost Azizullah, Sept. 1. Patrols are run throughout the Maiwand district regularly to help limit insurgent presence and movement in the area. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Shawn Denham, 2nd BCT PAO, 101st Abn. Div.)

Recently got an e-mail from a colleague who I worked with back at Camp Leatherneck letting me know that he had moved from Leatherneck to a new base COMBAT OUTPOST AZIZULLAH. The next time you feel like you are having a tough day or that things are difficult for you, think about the idea of a group of Military, aided by civilian contractors, carving a brand new base out of the middle of the Afghan shite-wilds....and doing so to assist the Afghan people in making their country. Not the average job but one that will be very satisfying for these warriors.


SOLDIERS CARVE NEW BASE IN MAIWANT
by PFC Shawn Denham, posted Nov 9 2010 12:00AM
Clarksville Now. Copyright 2010 Saga Communications, Inc

COMBAT OUTPOST AZIZULLAH, KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN – Across the nation of Afghanistan, combat outposts allow Soldiers a place from which to operate. These bases are strong points, areas from which units can stage missions and safeguard their Soldiers.

Soldiers of Company G, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment carved new paths by building a combat outpost in the Maiwand district, Kandahar province.

Combat Outpost Azizullah is developing into a full-sized Forward Operating Base. The 864th and Co. G are working together with the Afghan National Army’s 6th Kandak, 205th Corps to turn it into the 6th’s new base of operation.

“We started from the ground up,” said Sgt. Stanley Stewart, native of San Antonio, TX, and a plumber with the 864th, “The walls were the only thing here.”

The engineers worked to ensure the land was ready for construction. Development of untouched terrain is one of the engineer’s specialties.

“This is basically what we do, building from a blank piece of land,” said Stewart, “The land was difficult to work with and we had to smooth it out to build. More people are planning on coming out here and this will eventually be like another FOB Ramrod.”

Turning a large area of desert into a functional military base is full of logistical issues. Concerns such as re-supply, basic living needs and maintaining morale present challenges to be worked out.

“From the time we got here, the challenges we faced were the basic living facilities,” said Staff Sgt. Lonnie Johnston, a native of Las Vegas, NV., and a weapon squad leader with 1st platoon, 3/2 SCR. “Things like showers, laundry facilities and communication with people back home,” said Johnston.

Johnston added, the COP has more than doubled its size since the squadron arrived and morale is high despite limited facilities and food rationing. Soldiers have been working non-stop to improve the conditions around the. Generators have recently been installed to keep the tents air-conditioned whereas not too long ago, only the command tent had power for the computer and communications systems.

“I’ve been excited since the day we were told we were coming out here,” Johnston said, “It’s kind of like old news when you go to an already established base, you just pick up where others have left off. The opportunity to go to a new place and establish a foothold in a new area is exciting.”

Developing a fully functional outpost is physically demanding. Wooden platforms need to be built, tents raised, supplies maintained and plans for expansion need to be coordinated between Co. G and the 864th engineers.

“It’s hard, but it’s got to be built up, it’s got to be done,” said Pvt. Kenneth Cochran, a native of Anderson, SC, and a forward observer with Ghost Company’s 4th platoon. “It’s sometimes stressful, but other than that it’s not bad. Everything runs smoothly.”

Future plans for the base’s expansion are in development. A section of the base currently holds quarters for ANA Soldiers, with the possibility of live fire ranges, impact ranges and other training facilities being added for the ANA. American forces currently reside in tents, with a large open area for a helicopter landing zone.

“The future development of Azizullah includes an ammunition holding area, and additional US elements,” said Capt. Mark Ross, native of Niceville, FL, Ghost Company commander. “There will also be showers, laundry facilities and latrines.”

The squadron runs patrols throughout the Maiwand district to help establish security, which helps build confidence in the local populace, said Ross.

“This is a very unique site we’re at,” Ross said, “The sooner we can win and separate the population from the insurgents; the sooner we can remove the insurgency from the area.”

As Combat Outpost Azizullah grows, its capabilities to provide security for the local people of the Maiwand Province will also increase. Always working hard, the Soldiers of “3/2” continue to demonstrate the American pioneer spirit

1 comment:

Shawn Denham said...

This is Shawn Denham. I wrote that article about 7 years ago. That base was so dark at night you could clearly see the milky way after about 10 pm. No lights or anything to diminish the view.