Letter from Maj. Gen. James C. McConville - August 2013
August 19, 2013
Friends of the 101st,
Greetings from Combined Joint Task Force -- 101 and Regional Command -- East, Afghanistan. The summer fighting season is about half-way through and the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan is at a close. The Afghan National Security Forces continue to perform superbly as they maintain an aggressive and offensive effort to keep the Enemies of Afghanistan on their heels, driving them out of their country.
During the first half of this fighting season, the Afghan National Security Forces completed six Corps level operations across Regional Command -- East. Each day the Afghans demonstrate improvement in their ability to execute Counter-IED Operations, Independent Air and Ground Casualty Evacuation, and the integration of organic Indirect Fire Support systems such as mortars and artillery.
As we look forward to the next 60-90 days it is important to fully understand just how significant a time this is in our campaign. Many important decisions are expected to be made later this fall; and, even though there have been many successes, there is still a great deal of work to be done and all effort is needed to sustain this hard-earned progress and to ensure an enduring victory is achieved to benefit both the Afghan People and all in the international community who have contributed so much to this fight.
As you would expect, your Screaming Eagles continue to meet this Rendezvous with Destiny head-on, fully understanding that winning is truly seeing the Afghan National Security Forces in the lead, securing their country and providing the Afghan people an enduring level of security that supports a stable government and sustainable economic growth.
This month, the 1st Brigade Combat Team "Bastogne" completed their mission in Nangarhar and Kunar Provinces and successfully transitioned responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces. The Bastogne Brigade returned to Fort Campbell and I'd like to personally thank the community for so graciously welcoming our Screaming Eagles home and for all the support you selflessly provide to our Soldiers and Families every day. Your support is sincerely appreciated and essential to our success.
The partnership mission between the 4th Brigade Combat Team "Currahee" and the Afghan National Army's 1st Brigade, 203rd Corps reached a new milestone this past month when the ANA of 1/203rd Corps conduct an operation in the Azra District of Logar Province, completely independent of advisors. This historical milestone represented the hard work and dedication of the Currahee Security Force Assist and Advise Teams over the past 90 days and their efforts to assist the Afghan National Security Forces in their desire to defeat the Enemies of Afghanistan.
The Afghan National Security Forces also conducted Operation Semourgh, a cross-district, cross-provincial multi-pillared ANSF operation, aimed at assisting the people of Azra in re-instating security and providing much needed Humanitarian Aid. The Currahees have done a phenomenal job in maintaining a strong partnership presence in the provinces of Paktya and Khowst. Their continued hard work and efforts have enabled the ANSF to provide for a safer and more secure environment for the people of Afghanistan.
The 101st Sustainment Brigade "Lifeliners" focused on aerial delivery operations to better supply our remote operating bases as we continue to transition with our Afghan partners. The Lifeliners work tirelessly to meet the retrograde mission requirements of moving critical equipment home to sustain our Army for the future.
With a heavy heart we honor four fallen heroes this month.
Staff Sergeant Sonny C. Zimmerman, Able Company, 1-506th, 4BCT died July 15th, when his vehicle was struck by an RPG.
Staff Sergeant Octavio Herrera, Sergeant Jamar A. Hicks, and Specialist Keith E. Grace, Jr. of Bravo Battery, 4-320 Field Artillery Regiment, 4BCT, died as a result of enemy fire on August 11th.
Each of these Soldiers will forever be remembered as Screaming Eagles, true heroes who sacrificed all in the defense of our Nation and the service of others. I ask that you keep their unit, friends, and family in your prayers.
On Aug. 14, I was invited to speak with members of the press corps inside the Pentagon about the current state of affairs here in Regional Command East, Afghanistan. Here is the link to the video:
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SOperation And: http://www.army.mil/article/109343/
As always, I thank you for your continued support and dedication to our Screaming Eagle family and community. It is because of your untiring support that we are able to focus on accomplishing our mission here.