• August 28, 2014

U.S., Afghan soldiers team up to secure Camp Marmal airfield

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Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 12:00 pm

By Spc. Jeanita Pisachubbe

4th Combat Aviation Brigade public affairs

CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan - A soldier from the 404th Aviation Support Battalion, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and a soldier from the Afghan National Army secure an entry checkpoint where every vehicle and person entering the Camp Marmal airfield is checked.

While more U.S. soldiers sit in the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle behind them, this pair stands out front working in concert with one another. One checks credentials while the other stands back to survey the vehicle or individual hoping to gain access.

The difference in language and training doesn't impede their procedure.

Soldiers of the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade perform guard duties in and around Camp Marmal Airfield 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in all kinds of elements.

Soldiers work long shifts, one overlapping into the next.

Their locations and posts vary between an entry checkpoint and a wall built by HESCO baskets.

The guards from Task Force Mustang and the 404th Air Support Battalion work their rotations in lieu of their regular military occupational specialties.

They stop being flight medics, hydraulic repairers and UH-60 Medevac Black Hawk crew chiefs to do their part to keep Camp Marmal airfield and its personnel, equipment and missions secure.

Spc. David Welch, Charlie Company, Task Force Mustang, has been a flight medic since February of this year. Before that, he was a ground medic for four years, deploying two times in that capacity.

He said his part in this deployment is to provide the best care he can to wounded soldiers. Guard detail will occasionally keep him from that mission.

"We need guards," Welch said, despite the desire he has to continue to grow as a flight medic and knowing that goal is achieved only through time and experience. "Everybody has to pitch in to help."

Welch mans a wall with Spc. Erick Skinner, a Medevac Black Hawk crew chief, also with Charlie Company.

Skinner has been on several guard details and though he'd rather be with his aircraft, he said the guard duty has to be done.

Task Force Mustang soldiers' basic responsibility on guard duty is to look for intrusions, suspicious activity and to make sure people don't get too close to the wall. Unlike Welch's previous deployments where he stood guard alone for hours on end, the soldiers at Camp Marmal are teamed up so they can keep each other alert and offer another set of eyes.

This is the first deployment for Spc. Kevin Contreras, hydraulics repair, from Bravo Company, 404th Combat Aviation Brigade, but he has been stationed in Korea so it isn't his first time away from home.

"I do my job in aviation maintenance," he said "and do my guard duty as needed."

Contreras likes working with the Afghan soldiers. He said they know what they are doing and he is able to learn more of the "rights and wrongs" of the checkpoint.

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