'Peacemaker' advisory team completes mission in eastern Afghanistan
September 30, 2013
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Sept. 30, 2013) -- U.S. Army advisers with the 36th Engineer Brigade attached to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, were recognized at a ceremony, Sept. 25, on Camp Maiwand, Afghanistan, as their advisory mission to the Afghan National Army 4th Infantry Brigade, 203rd Corps, came to an end.
The Security Forces Advise and Assist Team, known as the "Peacemakers," from Fort Hood, Texas, arrived at Forward Operating Base Shank, Jan. 27, 2013, to take on the advisory mission with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, known as Task Force Vanguard, in support of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
Soon after their arrival, the team of 18 members partnered with the Afghan National Army's, or the ANA's, 4th Brigade, and Garrison Support Unit's primary staff to help increase the ANA's combat power and security measures.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. John Allen, the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deputy commander and brigade SFAAT adviser, highlighted the team's accomplishments, which included advising and assisting the ANA through the construction of 11 bunkers, the placement of 35 protective wall barriers and rebuilding and hardening the Maiwand entry point to help increase security and protection for the ANA soldiers.
The Peacemaker team also supported the Afghan's efforts to rebuild, maintain and sustain their fleet of improvised explosive device defeat systems across their area of responsibility in Logar and Wardak Provinces. They also coordinated for the installation of four new mine rollers on the brigade's armored international trucks.
The team facilitated engineering, counter-improvised explosive device, intelligence, communications, information operations, air-to-ground integration, medical, indirect fire, generator maintenance and contracting training.
"The vast majority of these training venues were designed to certify Afghan soldiers as instructors and operators, thus providing them the ability to train themselves," said Allen, a Richmond, Va., native. "Of note, the brigade just enrolled their first set of five medical providers into an internship in Kabul and they were the first Afghan National Army brigade to participate and graduate five soldiers from the air-to-ground integration training."
The brigade's first helicopter landing zone is the most recent successful project, which allows them to conduct their own aerial resupply missions, air assault operations, receive guests, and if required, support air medical evacuations.
"It's very rewarding to see firsthand what your efforts are doing as you see the Afghan National Army get more proficient in what you've been training them on," explained Capt. Todd Stawicki, a native of Bridgewater, N.J., and the adviser to the GSU.
ANA Brig. Gen. Abdul Raziq Safi, the 4th Brigade commander, thanked the U.S. advisers for all the assistance to his unit.
"You have not only helped the 4th Brigade, you have helped all the Afghan National Army," he said through an interpreter. "It's not easy and you went beyond our expectations."
"We are fighting an enemy who has no mercy," Raziq continued. "You are not [only] fighting for the freedom of Afghanistan, but you are saving the world."