By MC1 Denise Alford, USNNovember 30, 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan- Commander, International Security Assistance Force and Commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus arrived at the Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC) today to present a Meritorious Unit Commendation to the 2nd Battalion 22nd Infantry Regiment (Triple Deuce) 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
Triple Deuce received the award for their exemplary execution of their combat and advisory mission to the Afghan National Army (ANA). Petraeus applauded the accomplishments of the unit and shared his appreciation for their success.
"It is great to be with soldiers who have responded exceptionally to this non-standard mission," he said.
The history of the Triple Deuce can be traced back to the War of 1812 when the original regiment was formed. The regiment has been present in numerous conflicts: Spanish American War, Philippines Insurrection, Vietnam, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Historically, it is rare for a unit to receive an award of this nature while still in theater performing the mission.
Typically, it takes six months to one year to receive this award. However, their commitment enabled them to complete the mission far beyond expectations. Triple Deuce was the only battalion with the capability to accomplish this mission.
The unit initially prepared for a different mission but when they arrived in January they received a new task. Their new mission placed the responsibility of training and advising more than 70 percent of the ANA across 18 locations throughout Afghanistan.
"The 2-22 IN Battalion was a game changer for NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan," said Deputy Commander General-Army, NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan and Commander, Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan, Brig. Gen. Gary S. Patton.
Along with executing the combat and advisory mission across the country, Triple Deuce also manned Personal Security Detachments for Regional Support Commands in Bagram, Kandahar, Her'at, Kabul, Mazar-E-Sharif, Ghazni, Khost, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Wardak and Logar provinces, all areas of intense enemy activity. These detachments conducted daily patrols providing critical support for Afghan National Security Force infrastructure.
In the past year, Triple Deuce revamped the training mission allowing ANA to meet recruitment goals earlier than planned and assisted in improving the quality of the graduating recruits. Col. Mohammad Hashim, ANA deputy of Training and Education Affairs is pleased with the units' efforts. "They introduced and brought a new standard of training to ANA, they made big improvements from how things were done previously," he said.
Since their deployment began Triple Deuce has improved training for more than 50,000 ANA soldiers, officers, and non-commissioned offcers (NCOs) nationwide. Due to the efforts of the Triple Deuce, the ANA is now capable of carrying out complex operations with little to no assistance.
"Deeds not words" is the motto of Triple Deuce. Their accomplishments at KMTC show the unit lives by their motto. Army Capt. Daniel A. Gregory, Charlie Company commander reflected on the improvements he witnessed within the ANA. "The ANA completely runs the Basic Rifle Marksmanship training with a 98 percent qualification rate for every unit that passes through."
The unit directed improvements of training in a variety of areas as well as in the development and oversight of projects supporting Afghan National Security Force. The efforts of Triple Deuce resulted in an increase of the quality as well as quantity of the ANA force.
"This historic unit arrived in Afghanistan as the lead battalion of the first brigade of the surge ordered by President Obama," said Patton. "They have performed magnificently over these last 12 months doing what would be considered a non-standard mission for a combat infantry battalion - training Afghan soldiers, NCOs, and officers, and building new units for the Afghan National Army."
The success of the unit was not limited to the training of the ANA soldiers. Army Lt. Col. Michael J. Loos Triple Deuce battalion commander is pleased with the relationships that have been formed between the unit and the ANA. "We have built lasting friendships, this is the first deployment that I am sad to depart," he said.
Hashim was sad to see Triple Deuce leave, "We are very appreciative to this unit. We have good relationships with them and they will always be in our hearts," he said.
Triple Deuce will return to their home base at Fort Drum, N.Y. in time for the holidays.