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TF Currahee Soldiers get much needed, well-deserved surprise

 

Written by U.S. Army Spc. Luther L. Boothe Jr.
Task Force Currahee Public Affairs Office 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionCurraheeCombat Outpost Munoz, Afghanistan – Long, hot days and few amenities are all things some Soldiers must grow accustomed to, but sometimes there are special moments that they can hold on to, to keep them going.

Task Force Currahee Soldiers from Company D, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division stationed at Combat Outpost Munoz received a surprise visit from members of their command and were treated to a steak dinner September 26th.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. David J. Preston, commander of 801st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and native of Belchertown, MA, rotates food on the grill as U.S. Army Sgt. Alison R. Macdonald, with the 801st Bde. Support Bn., 4BCT, 101st Airborne Div. and native of Gloucester, VA, places another round of steaks on the grill. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Luther L. Boothe Jr., Task Force Currahee Public Affairs Office)

U.S. Army Lt. Col. David J. Preston, commander of 801st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and native of Belchertown, MA, rotates food on the grill as U.S. Army Sgt. Alison R. Macdonald, with the 801st Bde. Support Bn., 4BCT, 101st Airborne Div. and native of Gloucester, VA, places another round of steaks on the grill. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Luther L. Boothe Jr., Task Force Currahee Public Affairs Office)

The Soldiers of COP Munoz receive two hot meals a day, but they lack running water for a typical shower and must wash their clothes by hand, but their focus on the mission was clear.

“These guys are so focused on combat operations that you could feed them anything, and they would be happy, but we wanted to do this for them in hopes of boosting morale,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. David J. Preston, 801st Brigade Support Bn. commander, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Div., and a Belchertown, MA, native “We wanted to give the guys a chance to relax, get a little rest and eat some good food.”

Steak, mashed potatoes, potato salad, corn, fresh fruit, various pies and ice cream were all flown in and prepared for the Soldiers. They were even given a brand new grill to use for the rest of the deployment.

“We just wanted to show them that we are here for them,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Patrick P. Pope, Co. S, 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. Regt., 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div., and native of Rolling Fork, MS. “We wanted to take the opportunity to reward them for their hard work and putting up with these living conditions.”

This trip to COP Munoz was completely about boosting morale for the Soldiers, said U.S. Army Capt. Lindsay E. Hansen, commander of Co. S, 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. Regt., 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div., and native of Tuscan, AZ “Our heart goes out to the guys at these smaller COPs because we know they don’t have some of the luxuries that we have at the bigger forward operating bases.”

Hot chow for lunch is out of the norm for the Soldiers and that alone could have provided the entire morale boost needed.

U.S. Army Spc. Jian Guo Wang, a food service specialist with Headquarters Company, 801st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and native of Brooklyn, NY, grills steaks for Task Force Currahee Soldiers, deployed to Combat Outpost Munoz Sept 26th.  (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Luther L. Boothe Jr., Task Force Currahee Public Affairs Office)

U.S. Army Spc. Jian Guo Wang, a food service specialist with Headquarters Company, 801st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and native of Brooklyn, NY, grills steaks for Task Force Currahee Soldiers, deployed to Combat Outpost Munoz Sept 26th. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Luther L. Boothe Jr., Task Force Currahee Public Affairs Office)

“As I was sitting with the guys eating, you could see the expression on their faces and how happy it made them,” said U.S. Army Spc. Jonathan G. Lounds, a saw gunner for 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, Co. D, 2-506th Inf. Regt., 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div., and native of St. Johns, MI “Normally, it is pretty loud in the chow hall with everyone talking, but today nobody really had to say a thing; you could just tell in everyone’s faces what a big difference this made.”

The day meant more to the Currahees than just a hot meal, it reminded them how their chain of command is thinking about them and how much the chain appreciates what they do.

“It is cool to see the higher-ups come out here and tell us what a good job we are doing,” said Lounds. “It really encourages us to keep on fighting and working hard.”

“Guys enjoy a good piece of steak, the topping on the cake is just knowing that the command is thinking about us,” said U.S. Army Spc. James Kolasiniski, a team leader for Team A, 1st Sqd., 3rd Plt., Co. D, 2-506th Inf. Reg., 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div., and native of Toledo, Ohio. “It wasn’t just the next thing on the menu, it was specially brought to us by the command to help boost our morale.”

A gesture like this from the unit leadership really keeps Soldiers focused and restores confidence, said Kolasiniski. “I will probably go up to the observation point tonight and the guys will talk about it for the rest of the night.

“We really appreciate the thoughtfulness of all this,” he added. “It means a lot to know that people beyond these mountains are thinking about us and see our hard work and want to give us a little reward for our efforts.”

For those who organized the event, it was about getting the resources to those who truly need them.

“The Soldiers deserve something like this more than we do,” said U.S Army Sgt. Alison R. Macdonald, a food service specialist and the 801st Bde. Support Bn., 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div. class 1 noncommissioned officer in charge and native of Gloucester, VA “They are the ones out there in the fight, risking their lives on a daily basis.

“As support, it is my job to make sure that they get anything and everything they need,” said Macdonald. “If I can get it for them, I will beg, plead, steal or borrow to make sure that they get it.”

“It makes me glad that I am a logistician because it is all about supporting people,” said Hansen. “Seeing the morale instantly lifted by just cooking a steak or scooping some ice cream makes me glad I do my job and makes everything that we do worth it.”

The command plans to make the “steak and ice cream express” mission more often in the future in hopes of spreading a boost in moral across Paktika province.

“We are going to try to do this two times a month,” said Preston. “The goal is to do one trip to east Paktika and one to west Paktika.”

Any little thing leadership can do for these guys is a bonus, he said. “Just seeing them smile as we were unloading the food from the truck made my whole day.”


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