By U.S. Army 1st Lt. Joseph RobinsonOctober 26, 2013
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Sept. 24, 2013) -- "Friendlies south of the smoke!" was the radio transmission sent from a forward observer to the nearby aircraft as 1st Platoon, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment Soldiers secured an observation post in support of a Low-Cost Low-Altitude drop of drinking water Sept. 24, 2013, at Forward Operating Base Tagab, Kapisa Province, Afghanistan.
The LCLA drop was in support of much-needed water at an Afghan Security Guard Observation Post a few hundred meters above FOB Tagab.
The climb to the OP took roughly an hour due to the drastic change in elevation. Although the OP is a few hundred meters from FOB Tagab, the vertical climb is nearly 1,000 feet. 1st Platoon traveled in a series of switch backs to reach their destination.
The climb up the difficult terrain turned the mission into an espirit de corps event.
"It was good for the platoon to get a chance to push through the climb as a team; I think it built some good camaraderie within the group," said Spc. Rogelio Cruz-Loera, a joint fires observer with 1st Platoon from Fontana, Calif. "Plus, the mission required me to talk to the aircraft which I'm always prepared to do."
Once the Soldiers reached the top, platoon leadership conducted a Key Leader Engagement with the ASG leadership who already occupied the OP. The platoon leadership learned more about the geographical area of Tagab district from the ASG.
"The mission to the OP was a great morale boost for the platoon as well as a chance to get a better understanding of the area of operations," said 1st Lt. Donald Johnson. "The soldiers were excited to get out and walk up the mountain, get a nice workout session early in the morning, and help the ASG acquire some much needed supplies."
Johnson,an infantry officer from Oakland, Calif., who earned his commission out of the University of California, Berkeley, has been serving as the platoon leader for 1st Platoon since the beginning of 2013.
A Caribou cargo aircraft conducted the drop. The joint fires observer on the ground informed the aircraft where the friendly units were in reference to the smoke. Furthermore, the aircraft received an ingress direction to allow the cargo to land on favorable terrain so recovering it would be smoother.
The travel from the OP back down to the FOB took roughly thirty minutes since the route was all downhill. The sense of accomplishing a task as well as accomplishing a physical workout was sensed throughout the platoon. Overall, the mission was a success.