Cavalry scouts are an elite group of soldiers capable of performing a multitude of complex and diverse missions. When called upon by a higher authority they become a force multiplier and the “one-two punch” a commander may need to accomplish a tough mission.
Soldiers assigned to 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Combined Task Force Raider, along with the 2nd Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 205th Corps of the Afghan army, recently completed an extremely tough and delicate retrograde mission which included the lawful transfer of authority of the Village Stability Platform Naw Bahar from coalition forces to the 1st Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 205th Corps, ANA and Afghan local police forces. The mission took place in the Naw Bahar district, Zabul province, Afghanistan, Jan. 15-20.
This multi-unit mission took a lot of time and precise planning to execute.
“This was by far the biggest mission I’ve ever had to plan,” said Maj. David Fulton, the 2-1 Cavalry, 1ABCT, 3rd ID, CTF-R operations officer and native of Yucaipa Calif. “This operation involved multiple American units and several different Afghan army units, along with two different ALP units.”
Maj. Fulton added, “Additionally during the planning phase of this operation, intelligence on enemy activity was presented by the intelligence officer of the 2nd Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 205th Corps, ANA and it was spot-on and confirmed much of what we expected.”
While mission execution was far and above what everyone expected, the 2-1 Cavalry, 1ABCT, 3rd ID, CTF-R commander was extremely pleased at the performance of both his soldiers and the ANA.
“We spent a lot of time preparing for a mission like this prior to deploying here,” said Lt. Col. Charles “Chuck” Lombardo. The St. Louis native is the commanding officer of the 2-1 Cavalry, 1ABCT, 3rd ID, CTF-R. “My soldiers executed this mission with precision, and the ANA did more than their fair share. As a matter of fact I was very impressed with their discipline and professionalism.”
Lt. Col. Lombardo went on to state, “Several times we had to call on them [ANA] to assist in dealing with the local villages and village elders along our egress route.”
While the ANA performed exceptionally well, the praise they received did not come from Lt. Col. Lombardo alone.
“The ANA in this area has excellent leadership,” lauded 1st Lt. Aaron Zakarison, a platoon leader assigned to A Company, 2-1 Cavalry, 1ABCT, 3rd ID, CTF-R and native of Pullman, Wash. “They performed well above what I expected and they interact well with my soldiers.”
With the conclusion of this retrograde mission the ANA are now firmly in control of VSP Naw Bahar and have proven their mettle in actual combat operations.
Cavalry troopers of yesteryear were highly valued for their mobility and “can-do” attitude. The scouts assigned to 2-1 and their attachments have paid homage to that rich heritage by partnering with foreign forces and executing a complicated mission with few complications.
Article by Staff Sgt. Christopher Blakeslee, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division