'Iron Blade II' denies insurgents safe haven in Ghazni
December 1, 2010
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Dec. 1, 2010) -- Three infantry companies from Task Force Iron Rakkasan joined Afghan National Security Forces in combat operations that took out an enemy safe haven in Ghazni during the predawn hours of Nov. 28.
Operation Iron Blade II targeted a large cluster of villages in the Brimzi area which insurgents had been using as a safe haven for several years. Using human-gathered intelligence, the attacking forces employed Remotely-Piloted Vehicles (RPVs), close-air support and other aerial detection platforms to find, fix and finish the insurgents.
During the initial phase of the operation, the companies from 3rd Bn., 187th Inf. Regt. identified a 40-pound Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and destroyed it with the help of a route-clearance package and an Air Force explosive ordnance disposal team. Soldiers on the ground continued to move under the cover of darkness to their respective blocking positions when one of the companies struck a second IED which caused no injuries.
By morning, the three companies had maneuvered deep into the insurgent territory where they used a combination of manned and unmanned aerial assets to identify and track several groups of insurgents.
Staff Sgt. Erik Padilla, a personnel security detachment platoon sergeant said the units involved in the attack communicated and maneuvered well among themselves and with the air assets.
As one company moved through its objective, the insurgents began to flee. According to Capt. Edward Peskie, company A commander, an RPV identified one insurgent with an AK-47 and military binoculars. After receiving positive identification, attack aircraft fired on the position killing the insurgent and destroying his motorcycle.
Later, the RPV identified and eliminated two more insurgents on a motorcycle carrying AK-47s and Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs).
Additionally, the aerial detection platforms employed during Operation Iron Blade II allowed the task force to identify several possible cache locations and insurgent safe havens to target in future operations.
"The RPV was a huge contributor to the success of today's operation," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ryan Horton, a joint terminal attack controller with 3rd Bn., 187th Inf. Regt. "The ground forces flushed the insurgents out, and the RPV finished them. The asset was outstanding at tracking the insurgents and feeding information back to the Soldiers on the ground. This was definitely one of the best coordinated operations I've worked."
The Afghan and coalition forces also searched houses, talked to key leaders, detaining one insurgent and seizing three RPGs.
The combined efforts by all elements of Task Force Iron Blade II made the operation a tremendous success and greatly disrupted insurgent operations in eastern Ghazni, said Lt. Col. David Fivecoat, 3-187th Infantry commander.