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  • Operation Freedom's Sentinel


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    Deployable Units:

    • 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division "Spartans"
      • Alpha Company, First Battalion 30th Infantry Reg, 3rd Infantry Division
      • Bravo Company, First Battalion 30th Infantry Reg, 3rd Infantry Division
    • 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
    • Coalition Support elements (ANDSF, US Forces)

    The Hindu Kush served as a geographical barrier to the British empire, leading to paucity of information and scarce direct interaction between the British colonial officials and Central Asian peoples. The British had to rely on tribal chiefs, Sadozai and Barakzai noblemen for information, and they generally downplayed the reports of slavery and other violence for geo-political strategic considerations
    In the colonial era, the Hindu Kush were considered, informally, the dividing line between Russian and British areas of influence in Afghanistan. During the Cold War the Hindu Kush range became a strategic theatre, especially during the 1980s when Soviet forces and their Afghan allies fought the Mujahideen with support from the US allies channeled through Pakistan. After the Soviet withdrawal and the end of the Cold War, many Mujahideen morphed into Taliban and Al Qaeda forces imposing a strict interpretation of Islamic law (Sharia), with Kabul, these mountains and other parts of Afghanistan as their base.Other Mujahideen joined the Northern Alliance to oppose the Taliban rule.
    After September 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York, the American and ISAF campaign against Al Qaeda and their Taliban allies made the Hindu Kush once again a militarized conflict zone.

    Many US Coalition battle have already taken place in the Hindu Kush mountain ranges  (Nuristan Province) including the Battle of Kamdesh took place during the War in Afghanistan (2001–2014). It occurred on October 3, 2009, when a force of 300 Taliban assaulted the American Combat Outpost ("COP") Keating near the town of Kamdesh of Nuristan province in eastern Afghanistan. The attack was the bloodiest battle for US forces since the Battle of Wanat in July 2008, which occurred 20 miles (32 km) away from Kamdesh. The attack on COP Keating resulted in 8 Americans killed and 27 wounded whilst the Taliban suffered an estimated 150 killed.

    2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division "Spartans" having finished up a deployment to Isla Abramia (Operation Red Leopard) in the early spring of 2017, then transitioning to Germany to participate in Operation Bright Star (Coalition War Games) for the past several months have received deployment orders to Nuristan Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.  

    Main Story Line

    On 1 January 2015, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) formally ended its combat mission, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF), and commenced its new mission, Operation FREEDOM'S SENTINEL (OFS). Simultaneously, approximately 13,000 troops (of which nearly 10,000 are from the U.S.) from 41 nations commenced the new NATO mission, Resolute Support (RS), which focuses on Training, Advising, & Assisting (TAA) the Afghan Security Institutions (ASI) and ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) in order to build their capabilities and long-term sustainability. U.S. forces are now carrying out two well-defined missions: a Counter-Terrorism (CT) mission against the remnants of al Qaeda and the Resolute Support TAA mission in support of Afghan security forces. Our CT and TAA efforts are concurrent and complementary. While coalition force continue to attack the remnants of al-Qaeda, US Forces are also building the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) so that they can secure the Afghan people, win the peace, and contribute to stability throughout the region.

    The next two years of  this campaign will play a crucial role in cementing our gains. While US Forces strive to improve Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) capabilities and sustainability, US Forces will continue to re-posture our forces and adjust our footprint. As in the past, our drawdown will occur under enemy pressure. We will need to maximize the effects of our Train, Advise, & Assist Commands (TAACs) located at our four regional spokes in the north, south, east, & west of the country as we prepare for our eventual consolidation. US Forces will do all of this as we manage considerable risks to our mission and force and contend with myriad lethal threats.

    Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) performance in 2014 and the first half of 2015 highlighted capability gaps and shortfalls that will most likely persist for years. Their most critical gaps are found in aviation, intelligence, special operations, logistics, & sustainment and the ASI's ability to conduct tasks such as planning, programming, budgeting, and human resource management. They are also working to improve integration between the different security pillars--army, police, and intelligence services. At the corps-level, our advisors are concentrating on developing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) planning capacity, command and control, and operational capabilities. Additionally, they are addressing developmental shortfalls in the areas of medical and counter-IED measures. With limited exceptions, we have completed fielding of new equipment for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and are now focused on sustaining that equipment and replenishing battle losses.

    Although considerable challenges remain, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF)’s capabilities, capacities, and morale will be sufficient--backstopped by our continued advisory efforts and limited enabler support--to provide for Afghanistan's long-term security. Our collective efforts are hardening the Afghan state and giving it needed time to develop and mature. By improving security conditions, we are also reducing the operating space for insurgents and incentivizing their participation in the reconciliation process.

    Joint Multinational Readiness Center, in Hohenfels, Germany

    Platoon FTX Training:

    • 10SEP17 - Battalion wide requals with the M16 (Go/ No Go) and Tactical Road March
    • 17SEP17- Battalion wide focused training on Battle Drill 1-6 (Go / No Go)
    • 24SEP17- Battalion wide focused training on Convoy Security (Go / No Go)
    • 01OCT17 - Ceremony @ 1300 EST and Deployment to Kindu Hush

    Squad Training Focus: Pre-combat inspections (PCIs) are inspections performed by squad leaders prior to the execution of operations. Every soldier has heard of or taken part in PCIs, yet current Army doctrine does not clearly define or identify them. FM 6-0, Command and Control, simply states unit preparation includes pre-combat checks and inspections to ensure units, soldiers, and systems are fully capable and ready to execute. FM 7-10, The Infantry Company, states inspections must be used to supervise and refine troop-leading procedures, and gives a list of items to inspect to include weapons, equipment, soldiers’ knowledge, and communications. At the platoon level, FM 3-21.8 (FM 7-8, Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad) states squad leaders should conduct initial inspections shortly after receipt of the warning order. It continues with the platoon sergeant conducting spot checks throughout the unit’s preparation for combat, and the platoon leader and platoon sergeant making a final inspection.

    They should inspect:
    Load Outs
    • Weapons and ammunition
    • Uniform and equipment
    • Mission-essential equipment
    • Soldiers’ understanding of the mission and their specific responsibilities
    • Communications (Clear Radio Freq set from FTL, SL, P-Staff)
    • Deficiencies noted during earlier inspections

    Given this lack of definition and the clear importance of such inspections, the need to define a PCI is apparent.

    Squad Training should focus on:

    • Completion of  PCI - Pre-Combat Inspection on all soldiers assigned
      • Soldiers has mods updated and XML in working order
      • Soldiers has combat loadout up to standard
    • Completion of Battle Drills 1-6 at squad level
    • Completion of Convoy Security at squad level

    Remember: Not Inspected, Often Neglected  - Pre-combat inspections are an important tool to help ensure mission success. Current doctrine does not specify the format, time allocated, or content of PCIs. Those units that do not conduct PCIs have problems during mission execution. Some even risk mission failure.