40th CAB Joins the Fight at FOB Dahlke
California National Guard 40th Combat Aviation Brigade redeployed from Camp Buehring, Kuwait to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Dahlke, Afghanistan in May 2016
US Air Force, June 04, 2016 - FOB DAHLKE, Afghanistan Staff Sgt. Ian Kummer – Soldiers from the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade re-deployed from Camp Buehring, Kuwait to Forward Operating Base Dahlke, Afghanistan in May, 2016.
The 40th CAB Soldiers are augmenting an existing garrison from the 3rd and 4th CAB in their mission to train, advise and assist Afghan National Security Forces in their mission to clear the local region of Taliban insurgents.
The arriving 40th CAB force includes Arkansas, Pennsylvania and West Virginia National Guard Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment, California National Guard Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, and Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment.
“Our mission here is to provide Medevac coverage in this area,” said West Virginia Army National Guard Capt. Evan Dale, the Medevac platoon leader from Company C. “There’s more of a threat out here [than in Kuwait] and it presents different challenges.”
Company B supports Special Forces and Afghan operations around FOB Dahlke and also escorts Company C helicopters when needed.
“We move people and equipment place to place, and provide whatever the Special Forces units need out here,” said California Army National Guard Sgt. Nathan Wong, a Company B crew chief from Simi Valley, California. “The mission tempo is manageable, but we’ve been busy.”
The 1-10 Soldiers will be joining the AH-64 Apache helicopter force from the 3rd CAB and 4th Aviation Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th CAB.
The Apache, nicknamed “The Monster” by Taliban fighters, is a fully integrated weapon and communication system capable of performing a wide variety of ground support missions.
“We’re an enabler and a facilitator of force protection and force projection,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Greg McCormick, an Apache pilot stationed out of Savannah, Georgia, with Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd CAB. “We can shoot for pretty much anyone. A platoon leader can jump on the [radio] net and request fire support from us.”
Though the aviation mission at FOB Dahlke is a hodge podge of different units, all the different crews work together to get the job done.
“Everybody helps each other out with the aircraft,” Wong said.
The bywords “train, advise assist” dictate American operations: the task force provides assistance to local forces, but the overall mission is Afghan-led.
“Afghan problems need Afghan solutions,” Dale said.
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