WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Sept. 30, 2010) - Paratroopers from Task Force Talon and Task Force Brawler, along with their Afghan National Army partners, conducted a clearing operation in the Chak District of Wardak Province in east-central Afghanistan Sept. 24

It was the largest air assault mission conducted during this deployment by the "Sky Soldiers" of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team since they arrived in late 2009.

Talon's staff, in coordination with planners from 3rd Kandak of the 6th Afghan Commandos and other coalition units who supported the operation, planned the air assault mission in just more than 48 hours.

Coalition forces also worked closely with Afghan National Security Forces partners to ensure their participation and integration in the plan.

The combined operation involved more than 340 Afghan and Talon paratroopers. Ground forces were inserted using four CH-47 Chinook and two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from TF Brawler at five landing zones across the Chak District in the span of five hours.

"Due to the untiring efforts of the entire combined team, including multiple [special operations forces], aviation and ground units, the task force was able to successfully execute a complex mission with minimal time for planning," said Lt. Col. Matthew McFarlane, TF Talon commander. "The people of Chak Valley and Afghan government leaders were pleased with the removal of key insurgents and an increased Afghan security presence in Chak."

McFarlane pointed out that residents in Chak witnessed their Afghan Commandos and ANA fight and protect them. Wardak Afghan Uniformed Police and elements of the Afghan Army increased their presence in Chak to build upon the success of this operation.

In the coming months, TF Talon will continue to work with ANSF to increase their capacity for securing the people and Afghan government efforts in Chak, McFarlane said.

"The operation demanded a lot of the paratroopers, [noncommissioned officers] and officers involved," said Maj. Damien Fosmoe, the TF Talon operations officer. "But it was a great feeling to see the professionalism with which the officers, NCOs, and troopers developed, rehearsed and executed a complex and dangerous mission on such short notice, as if it was routine."

The operation was a team endeavour, and succeeded because of the efforts of everyone involved, he added.

The results were felt by the enemies of the Afghan government. A senior insurgent leader in Wardak Province and several of his subordinates were killed during the first day of the operation.

"It is one of those things that we came in, secured key locations and fought it out with the insurgents without backing down," said Sgt. Bradley Mora, a squad leader with the task force. "They have to realize we can and will go into any area in this country and defend the Afghan people's ability to pursue democracy."

"This operation is served as another reminder that I am extremely fortunate to find myself in the company of the best our nation and that of Afghanistan has to offer," said Capt. Kevin Ward, a company commander with the task force. "Down to the lowest level, every member of our element faced extreme danger with no reservation or hesitation."

Afghan security forces and coalition forces have worked together in missions such as this to strengthen resolve throughout Wardak, securing the area and inflicting losses for insurgents.