PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Soldiers with the 3rd “Red Dragon” Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, let their presence be known in a new town outside of Bagram Air Field on Oct. 13.
Red Dragon assumed responsibility for a new area of operation — the town of Qal’eh-ye Nasro — from the U.S. Air Force this month in order to continue assisting the Afghan National Security Forces with presence patrols and assisting with overall partnership security, said Lt. Col. Phil Brooks, battalion commander.
The patrol was an opportunity to integrate with the population of a rather contested village and demonstrate goodwill to the people.
“We went in with good intentions, providing charitable donations and discussing future events with the village elders,” Brooks said.
The Afghan National Police Chief led as Brooks met with the Malik and village elder who were thankful for the donations, he said.
They were welcoming and ready to discuss issues concerning each party.
“We discussed the benefits Bagram Air Field provides for the townspeople, and overall security concerns in and around (the air field),” Brooks said.
Although talks went well, Brooks cautioned when entering a new area, especially one deemed dangerous, security and communication play large roles in executing a successful patrol.
“The (Afghan police) leading us into the village (definitely) helped in our success as well as the training and experience coming from my soldiers,” Brooks said.
Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Turegano, a platoon sergeant for Red Dragon’s Alpha Battery, said soldiers’ training and commitment to any mission helped lead them safely through a possibly hostile area.
“We expected the villagers to be reserved, and despite what incidents may have occurred, my men kept their composure,” Turegano said. “Regardless of any situation we are in, the soldiers stay vigilant and ready to react, which is part of their training.”