5 years ago
From Stars and Stripes, we are headed back to the Waigal Valley, Nuristan and Kunar Provinces.
The 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment is heading back to the same region where it took part in the Army’s deadliest battle in Afghanistan.
While the rest of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team is heading to Logar and Wardak provinces for its upcoming deployment, the 2-503rd will be assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, said Maj. Thomas Gilleran, 173rd public affairs officer.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team is serving in Kunar province, the same region where the 2-503rd served in 2007-2008.
During its 14-month tour, “The Rock,” as the unit is known, engaged in hundreds of contacts with enemy forces, including the battle of Wanat, in which hundreds of insurgents attacked a small, remote Army outpost. In the hours-long battle, nine 2-503rd soldiers were killed and more than two dozen were wounded.
The region is still volatile.
Since the beginning of October, 12 soldiers assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team have died, including eight who were killed Oct. 3 in Kamdesh district in an attack similar to the one at Wanat.
Kamdesh is in Nuristan province and northeast of Wanat. Kamdesh is one of a collection of isolated valleys near northeastern Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan where U.S. troops have faced fierce resistance in recent years. Military and outside analysts have described the insurgency in northeast Afghanistan as a hybrid of local, tribally based fighters loosely allied with the Taliban and other insurgent networks. The military initially ascribed the Kamdesh attack to tribal militias but later blamed the Taliban.
Battalion leaders confirmed the 2-503rd’s upcoming assignment.
The Captain’s Journal will follow this deployment. Let’s hope that we have learned the many lessons of Wanat and Kamdesh – controlling the high ground, sufficient logistics, properly resourced and manned deployments, adequate force projection, taking the initiative concerning the population instead of waiting for their approval, adequate force protection, and so on. This is a chance to prove that we have.