By Staff Sgt. Gaelen Lowers (8th Theater Sustainment Command)June 20, 2014
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- One hundred and eighty-eight Soldiers from the 65th Engineer Battalion met tears, hugs, and kisses from their friends and families, June 20, at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, after completing a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The unit formed and led Task Force Bayonet, a multifaceted fighting force consisting of multiple engineer and logistical companies and an Afghan National Army mentoring team.
The primary focus of TF Bayonet was to partner with ANA engineers and other ministries of the Afghan government, and provide mentorship in engineer operations. They were directly responsible for ensuring that the ANA were capable of operating as an independent fighting force.
The TF also conducted route clearance ops assuring mobility for coalition forces and Afghan civilians using various improvised explosive device defeat platforms.
"As I reflect back on this deployment, I am truly amazed by how much this battalion has accomplished," said Lt. Col. Dave Acker, commander of TF Bayonet and the 65th Eng. Bn. "The Soldiers of Task Force Bayonet have demonstrated their dedication to the mission and ability to remain flexible in the most trying situations."
The Army engineers tracked the battle across three regional commands comprising of more than 150,000 square kilometers of patrolled routes and operational areas. They managed, conducted, and ensured more than 1,200 non-rolling stock items were returned back into the military inventory, while simultaneously turning in 21 vehicles and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition from their company alone.
The battalion's higher headquarters, 130th Engineer Brigade, also returned from Afghanistan earlier this month after serving nine months as the lead for the Theater Engineer Brigade.