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US soldiers assist Afghan forces with security during this weekend’s presidential elections

This news story was published on April 5, 2014.
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Securing Afghan polling sites: 849th MAC conducts joint operation to support tomorrow's presidential election

Securing Afghan polling sites: 849th MAC conducts joint operation to support tomorrow’s presidential election

FORWARD OPERATING BASE FRONTENAC, Afghanistan – On March 13, 2014, 1st Platoon, 849th Mobility Augmentation Company (MAC), a National Guard unit from Litchfield, Minnesota, helped to clear a route in the vicinity of FOB Frontenac. First Platoon’s mission is simple – to assist the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in clearing routes so safe mobility is ensured throughout the region to all presidential election polling sites.

Throughout Afghanistan, the upcoming election is a focal point in all military operations. The election scheduled for April 5, 2014 is an important step toward Afghanistan’s stable and peaceful future. The US and other NATO forces have an enduring commitment to Afghanistan, and have pledged logistical and security support at the request of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA).

That is where units like 1st Platoon, 849th MAC, are essential. The 849th MAC has been in Afghanistan since September 2013. Already, the 849th endured a lot during its deployment. Persevering through all of their setbacks, 1st Platoon continued to support mobility in their area of operation until they received orders to move to FOB Frontenac in Shah Wali Kot Province, Afghanistan.

Since moving to FOB Frontenac, 1st Platoon conducts joint operations with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2/2CR) out of Vilseck, Germany. The word “joint” cannot be emphasized enough; not only does First Platoon work with 2/2 CR, but they also conduct missions with ANSF and the Air Force EOD.

Sgt. Ryan Johnson, from Eden Valley, Minnesota, talks about the benefits of conducting joint operations.

“Every time we go out with them (ANSF), they tend to find things that we don’t,” he said.

Staff Sgt. Roger Peet, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, says that the reason ANSF are so skilled at finding IEDs is because they can more easily talk to the local populace and receive information from them.

The added benefits of joint operations become extremely important as 1st Platoon continues participating in Operation Chamtoo III conducting route clearance missions.

The platoon leader, Lt. Lance Hauser, from Willmar, Minnesota, describes the process of securing routes for the election.

“After we do our initial clearance, the ANSF keep the routes clear and continue to conduct patrols,” he said.

When asked how successful he believes their missions were, Hauser said, “I think they’ve been very successful in securing the routes and the local polling areas because the ANSF have established many checkpoints in the area and frequently patrol the routes.”

Hauser is confident that their current mission will be successful as the result of the ANSF operations and their ability to independently operate.

“They get a lot of visibility from the local populace. I can only imagine that it brings a sense of security to the people in the area and brings a great sense of pride to those ANSF individuals,” he said.

However the election turnout, this fact remains true: the election will be an important piece of Afghanistan’s history.

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