KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (April 1, 2015) -- Every day, Service members of the NATO Resolute Support Mission work in partnership with Afghan forces. In Kandahar Province, a newly arrived contingent is already making its mark.
Since March 3, the 33rd Romanian Mountain Battalion has integrated with the Force Protection Battalion of Kandahar Airfield by joining Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment. The composite unit is termed Combined Task Force No Slack-Posada, and the Service members are already hard at work. The name is derived from the unit mottos of the 327th and 33rd, respectively.
The task force operates under the authority of Train, Advise, Assist Command - South, headquartered at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The 1st Cavalry Division, deployed from Fort Hood, Texas, leads the command. Service members from multiple units, including the 101st Airborne Division, comprise the overall command. The 101st is deployed from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The newly created task force is responsible for Kandahar Airfield force protection, the military term for base defense and security.
During the changeover period, the established U.S. Soldiers worked with the 33rd Battalion in training on weapons systems, vehicle maintenance and operations, and radio and digital communication systems. Additionally, the two units integrated the staffs from each battalion.
While the Soldiers trained on all of their essential tasks, the leaders from the 33rd Battalion went into the districts surrounding Kandahar with their U.S. counterparts. The leaders met Daman District leaders, as well as Afghan National Police checkpoint commanders who they will work with during their time in Kandahar. During the Daman Security Shura, a formal meeting between Coalition and Afghan partners, Afghan leaders provided an initial assessment of key personnel in the district and gave them an overview of the Daman District Center.
Lt. Col. Florin-Corneliu Soltuz, 33rd Mountain Battalion commander, expressed how eager he and his unit are to partner with the Afghan National Defense Security Forces to help them accomplish their goals.
"Diving into the operational environment shoulder-to-shoulder with U.S. Soldiers, we have learned what 'No Slack' means. My soldiers have overcome adversity by accomplishing all tasks presented to them in order to be a part of the strong presence the U.S. battalion represents in the area," he said. "Nervousness and anxiety are common for people who are 'new in town,' but the confidence shared by our U.S. brothers strengthened my leadership and our boots on the ground as well."
Integrated U.S. and Romanian patrols enabled the Romanian troops' familiarization with their assigned district and villages, and provided the opportunity to develop critical relationships with Afghan National Police checkpoints. Key leaders also met the senior representatives from each of the villages.
"In the brief time we have had to train, work, and patrol side-by-side with the Soldiers of 2-327th Infantry, 'No Slack,' my Soldiers and I found out that the differences that separate us from the American Soldiers are minute compared to the drive and common purpose we share, that is, to do your job as best as you can while ensuring that the Soldier next to you, no matter what country he is from, is as prepared as he can be to accomplish our common mission," said Capt. Madalin-Robert Tirdea of 3rd Company, 33rd Mountain Battalion.
In mid-March, the 33rd Battalion completed their familiarization. In early April, the Posada elements will assume full responsibility for their force protection and security missions.
Overall, both the task force and Afghan leadership have expressed excitement about the future security and prosperity that the development of their partnership will bring to the people of Kandahar Province.