Task Force Warrior cuts off Taliban in Tangi Valley
March 31, 2011
WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan - As bullets flew toward an armored vehicle on the adjacent hill, mortarmen at Observation Post Savannah aligned their tube toward the enemy fighting position March 15.
The ground shook around the mortar tube as Sgt. Luiz D. Alamo slid six consecutive 60 mm rounds down the cylinder. The sequential explosions across the ridgeline, followed by silence, seemed to indicate the rounds found their mark.
Members of B Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Warrior established OP Savannah at the mouth of the Tangi Valley less than a week earlier.
"The Afghan National Army will establish a checkpoint, which will then be turned over to the Afghan National Police," said Capt. Mark J. Balboni, B Company commander. "On the 15th, we began installing the first of the smaller OPs that will overwatch the future traffic control point."
Establishing the OP and TCP is essential for securing the valley.
"The OP and TCP will prevent the movement of arms and insurgents in and out of the valley," said 1st Lt. Will J. Rendall, a platoon leader assigned to B Company.
Rendall explained that moving hundreds of sandbags, one by one, down to the newly formed fighting position is hard work, but securing the winding road in the base of the valley is worth it.
"The buildup of coalition presence in the valley has resulted in an increase of insurgent activity and contact within the last week," Rendall said. "We have been hit every day since we stood up the OP."
Because U.S. forces will inevitably leave Afghanistan, B Company is working on a long-term solution to secure the hostile valley.
As night fell over the hilltop on the western end of the valley, Soldiers continued to ferry sandbags, one by one, down to the newly formed fighting position. Once enough progress was made, Balboni ordered his Soldiers to rotate out of their security positions and for the recently arriving platoon to take over. The battle-hardened infantrymen seemed in high spirits as they loaded their vehicles to head back to their combat outpost after braving rocket-propelled grenade attacks and multiple firefights on the remote wind-battered hilltop.