4-9 Cavalry: An indispensable part of the mission
October 9, 2013
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division soldiers are in Afghanistan serving outside their typical cavalry role.
The Texas-based squadron from Fort Hood, more commonly referred to as 4-9 Cav., is now operating out of Forward Operating Base Fenty in Nangarhar province; there they conduct operations ranging from reconnaissance to force protection.
"The 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment provides security so we can focus on our advising mission," said U.S. Col. Mario Diaz, commander, 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. "They are key members of Task Force Patriot and make a positive difference every day in Regional Command-East, North of Kabul."
Reconnaissance missions send these cavalry soldiers to nearby villages where they gather intelligence from locals about possible enemy movement or activities.
"We've received intelligence that the enemy is going to ground because of our constant presence," said Lt. Col. Robert Smith, commander of 4-9 Cav. "Our presence in this area of operation has been very effective."
Similarly, force protection measures send the soldiers on patrols around Fenty to keep relations with the local population friendly and ensure the perimeter is secure.
"A defensive position is never complete, because you're always trying to make it better," said 1st Lt. Arrio Granum, of Hillsboro, Ore., executive officer, Troop A, 4-9 Cav. "We need to get out there and establish ourselves outside the wire."
Missions outside the wire must be supported by sustainment and support personnel in order to be successful.
These soldiers maintain, recover and repair everything from portable generators to vehicles disabled by roadside explosives. Their work is complemented behind the scenes by logistics and administrative personnel.
For a team primarily made of scouts - the commander's eyes and ears on the battlefield - the roles they fill on this deployment require flexibility and versatility.
"Our soldiers are willing to support in any way that they can," said Smith. "If it's a mission outside of what they've been trained for, we take the time to train them so it works out."
Though 4-9 Cav's tour is still in full swing as of Sept. 14, Smith said he already knows how he wants his squadron to be remembered when all is said and done.
"Our biggest goal is for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, who we currently support, to go back to Fort Polk and say to their higher headquarters 'Without 4-9 we would not have been able to succeed,'" said Smith.