Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Big Red One takes command in northeastern Afghanistan

Written by Staff Sgt. Adora Medina 3rd BCT, 1st ID Public Affairs
Sunday, 27 July 2008

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (July 26, 2008) — When the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team paratroopers set foot on Afghanistan soil 15 months ago, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division “Big Red One” was just re-activating at Fort Hood, Texas. Throughout the 173rd’s deployment they fought to reform Afghanistan while 3rd BCT, 1ST ID was training to take their place.
On July 24, at Forward Operating Base Fenty, a transfer of authority gave 3rd BCT, 1ST ID the opportunity to put their training to work and continue the mission the 173rd has been doing for more than a year.

“We understand that while [we] have been handed a difficult mission, we are well trained and capable,” said Col. John Spiszer, Task Force Duke commander with 3rd BCT, 1ST ID. “The task is important to our nation, to Afghanistan, to the people of [northeastern region of Afghanistan] and to each other. We look forward to the challenges ahead and will continue the work of Task Force Bayonet.”

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston also attended the ceremony. He came to Afghanistan to assist the Afghan National Army’s Sgt. Maj. of the Army Rashan Safi in developing the Afghan non-commissioned officer corps. Despite his busy schedule he stopped by, attended the ceremony and talked with the TF Duke Soldiers about the mission ahead. “The Army’s been asked to do a tough mission and of course we’ve asked [3rd BCT, 1ST ID] to also do a tough mission,” said Preston. “I’m very proud of all of them and what they’re going to do and accomplish over the next 15 months. I’m very confident that this brigade, the Soldiers and the leadership are going to do a phenomenal job over the course of their deployment.” The unveiling of the Big Red One colors symbolized the beginning of TF Duke’s command over the northeastern area of Afghanistan. As the light infantry brigade picks up where the 173rd left off, they plan to build on the foundation laid by the paratroopers during their time in Afghanistan.

“My intent is to continue on the same path that the 173rd Airborne Task Force Bayonet did, and to continue making improvements, carrying the ball the next ten yards, so to speak, because they’ve got a good plan and a good strategy that they’ve been executing,” Spiszer said.
The paratroopers are now headed home to their families in Europe after executing a mission of sacrifice and perseverance.

“Thanks to the magnificent paratroopers of the 173d and Task Force Bayonet for their blood, sweat and tears; fighting for a noble cause. Never before have I known such a brave group of Soldiers,” said Col. Charles Preysler, TF Bayonet commander. “Their tenacity and resolve, while fighting in some of the toughest terrain on earth, is humbling to me as leader. I am in awe of their accomplishments and am proud to have walked the same ground they have.”

Families tied by war: Brothers in arms cross paths in Afghanistan

Written by Air Force Staff Sgt. Rachel M. Martinez 455th AEW Public Affairs
Monday, 28 July 2008

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (July 27, 2008) — Twenty-one year old Senior Airman Matthew Delgado made one last trip home before deploying in May. He was set to deploy to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, and didn’t expect to see his family for months. Half-way into his deployment rotation, he was surprised when someone knocked on his barracks door and told him his brother was waiting for him at the PX here.

Army Pfc. Jerin Delgado, 26, arrived at Bagram July 18 with the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Hood, Texas, as they transitioned to a forward operating base in the region. The two brothers, from Cedar Hill, Texas, were able to spend a few days together catching up.

“Of all places to run into your family -- on the other side of the world in Afghanistan -- how often does that happen?” said the Airman. “I felt a little closer to home when my brother came.”

Senior Airman Delgado is deployed to the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron here. Even though he is scheduled to deploy to Iraq in 2009, he volunteered for this deployment.

“I wanted to do my part in the war against terror. I deployed here to [provide] force protection,” said Airman Delgado, who performs F-16 maintenance inspections at his home station, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas. “I feel my mission is very important over here. We are the first line of defense for this base.”

Private First Class Delgado is a combat medic, providing care to injured Soldiers on the front lines. Despite his brother’s dangerous job, Senior Airman Delgado said he doesn’t worry too much.

“We both try not to think about it, because that makes things worse,” he said. “I know my brother knows his job very well and I think that he will be fine.”

Likewise, Pfc. Delgado believes his brother can hold his own. “If anything happened, I know he could handle it,” he said.

Along with being brothers in different armed services, comes some rivalry.

“[We have] all the normal older brother [versus] younger brother rivalry,” said Senior Airman Delgado. “I think it is standard across the board. Of course Army and Air Force – we all know of the rivalry there – but it is all in fun.”

Rivalry aside, the Delgado brothers said they both signed up to serve their country – and that’s what they are doing here with the added perk of serving together.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Can't get enough of these

Right now, as the troops are settling in, they need flat (not white) bed sheets, and solid colored shower curtains.

They also need all the single serve drink mixes, you can pack into an FRB. Please limit the amount of lemonade you send. For some reason, lemonade is sent the most. Your trooper may request some brands, but if possible send the propel or gatorade (powdered) mixes. These and any of the enriched mixes will help. The altitude these guys will be working in saps their strength, so all the healthy things we can get to them the better. I take the snack size plastic bags, and fill it with an assortment of the individual packages. This way, each trooper will get an assortment, instead of being left with all the lemonade boxes. : )

If you can, the enriched power gels are good. Google gel protein, and you will find some sources. But they are expensive, so warn your trooper to use sparingly. But with the altitude, they exhaust easily, and forget to eat. Hence, the healthy protein bars, and the protein gels.

Baby wipes, Baby wipes, Baby wipes, Baby wipes, Baby wipes, Baby wipes, unscented. I break the larger packages down to single packages. I get the quart bags with the zipper (easier for big hands to use). I put a stack of 3/4 inch to 1 inch in each bag, fold the top over (to remove as much air as possible), and zip them up. This way, the trooper can grab one or two paks to take with him when he is "out and about". Your trooper may advise different. They will become the experts on what works and what does not work for them.

Don't forget ! ! ! If your trooper is "out and about", good quality jerky. Your trooper may have a preference for a local brand. If not, Whittington's jerky in Johnson City, Texas, makes a great jerky, and will send it directly. If you like, I get a wholesale price, and I go down to their store regularly. This way, you will not to have to give your trooper's address out. Remember, do not spread that address widely. Guard your trooper's security, and the spam mail from blogging the mail pipeline. JUNK MAIL thrives on web sites. ALWAYS remember OPSEC regulations, too. More on both of those later.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

6-4 CAV has Deployed

6-4 CAV has deployed to Afghanistan, and have arrived safely.

They are settling in, and moving out to join the fight.

God Bless all of them,
and their families.

"And although we may do our best to avoid trouble, sometimes trouble insists on finding us. When tha happens, warriors flip the switch and act decisively --ruthlessly if necessary -- to preserve and defend the things thay hold dear. and when the fight is over, they turn off the switch and continue to cherish the things they value enough to defend. That's what makes them warriors. And that's what makes them the good guys" --Michael D. Janich

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Requests and Happy Birthday

An angel in desert camo tells how some special cakes were prepared for July birthdays.

". . . Let me tell you how the cook decorated. He took some zip lock bags, we made red frosting (we only have black/red/green food coloring, the liquid, which makes the frosting a runny consistency). So, he filled a zip, cut the corner of a second zip, stuck in the giant tip (very limited tips - most of them are toooooooo big) then squeezed the first bag into the tip of the second . . ."

Clever cook.

I know what you're thinking, but we've already got the supplies covered. Some of us got to clean out our closets of decorating supplies from lives long past (and best forgotten) .

Angel in Desert Camo" WILL have cake decorating supplies for AUGUST.

These requests are the usual type that come in early in deployments. Let’s see what we can do to help these troopers set up house keeping for the LONG HAUL.

Send what you can to the address on sidebar, and we’ll get these things boxed up and off to these warriors. More will be listed as the rest of the 6-4 Trooper contacts check in. It’s going to take some time for me to get used to calling their units Troops.
  • Small paint brushes 1” and 3"
  • Bed Sheets
  • Shower Curtains

The brushes are used for cleaning weapons and “dusting areas”. Okay, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to request pictures of 1SG Johnson “dusting areas”. That I need to see.

The Flat bed sheets are not only used for beds, but seem to come in handy for all kinds things.

Clear shower curtains just are not the best for these guys. For the length of the deployment, it is very important that the guys have some place to go for some personal time. Personal space is hard to come by, but helps recharge. If we can get enough bed sheets, this is one of those “unexpected uses”.

This picture sent from a previous blogger to give you some idea of the uses for the shower curtains and sheets. This was for officers, so don’t expect such luxury for the majority of the troops.

There is a special request for spices to SPICE up the meals that are prepared for these warriors. If possible, large containers of one kind of spice will better serve the purpose, but we’ll send on the regular sized bottles of spices. These people are serious about doing their very best for their people.

Let’s get these warriors settled in and then get down to the support they will need for the long haul. Everything we do helps make day to day living a little more bearable, and reassures these warriors that there are AMERICANS that support them in every way possible.

  • Lemon Pepper
  • Lawery Seasoning Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • O’Bay Seasoning
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • Kosher Salt
  • White Pepper
  • Onion Pepper
  • Gumbo Powder
  • Curry Powder
  • Cumin
  • All Spice
  • Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • Thyme
  • Chinese Five Spice
  • Tarragon
  • Nutmeg
  • Powdered Ginger
  • Dill Weed
  • Bay Leaves
  • Whole Cloves
  • Cayenne Pepper

From previous deployments, we've been told to please try not send those face shredding disposable razors.

For our warriors, as always,
Gratitude and Prayers.