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Afghan National Army assumes responsibility of Forward Operating Base Blessing

 

Written by U.S. Army Capt. Jonathan J. Springer
Task Force Bulldog Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionBastogneKunar Province, Afghanistan – The Afghan National Army took a major step toward responsibility for their country’s security when it assumed control of Forward Operating Base Blessing in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province March 4th.

Afghan soldiers now safeguard the Pech River Valley near the border with Pakistan – historically one of Kunar Province’s most volatile areas. Although FOB Blessing is not the first base transferred to the Afghan National Army, it is the largest in Regional Command-East transferred to date.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, take down the final American Flag to fly over FOB Blessing during a transfer of authority ceremony March 4th. U.S. and Afghan soldiers have lived together at FOB Blessing for the three years. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Jonathan J. Springer, Task Force Bulldog Public Affairs)

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, take down the final American Flag to fly over FOB Blessing during a transfer of authority ceremony March 4th. U.S. and Afghan soldiers have lived together at FOB Blessing for the three years. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Jonathan J. Springer, Task Force Bulldog Public Affairs)

During a brief ceremony, U.S. Army Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, lowered an American flag while U.S. Army and Afghan National Army soldiers from the 2nd Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 201st Corps looked on. The Afghan flag remained raised throughout the ceremony. U.S. and Afghan soldiers have lived together at Blessing for the past three years. 
 
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph A. Ryan, commander of 1st Bn., 327th Inf. Regt. and commander of FOB Blessing for the past 10 months, from Pearl River, NY, praised the Afghan soldiers and their leadership.

“The soldiers of the 2nd Kandak are our brothers. We’ve fought alongside them for the last 10 months and they’ve proven they are ready to assume this great responsibility,” said Ryan. “On behalf of Soldiers from five U.S. Army Infantry Battalions who previously served in the Pech River Valley, and servicemen from the U.S. Marines, Navy and Air Force, I am proud to officially transfer command of Forward Operating Base Blessing to the Afghan National Army.”   

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, and Afghan National Army soldiers, stand in formation during a transfer of authority ceremony at FOB in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province March 4th. Afghan soldiers now safeguard the Pech River Valley, one of Kunar Province’s most volatile areas near the Pakistan border. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Jonathan J. Springer, Task Force Bulldog Public Affairs)

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, and Afghan National Army soldiers, stand in formation during a transfer of authority ceremony at FOB in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province March 4th. Afghan soldiers now safeguard the Pech River Valley, one of Kunar Province’s most volatile areas near the Pakistan border. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Jonathan J. Springer, Task Force Bulldog Public Affairs)

ANA Command Sgt. Maj. Mohammed Afzal, the Afghan battalion’s top enlisted soldier, also expressed confidence in the ability of his soldiers to defend and hold Blessing.

“We are more than ready to take over this area,” Afzal said. “I’m proud to know that we’ve reached this point and are taking over the security responsibilities. We have trained and fought for this day and finally it has come.”

The final U.S. flag to fly over FOB Blessing and a marble plaque commemorating U.S. Army Sgt. Jay Blessing, killed in action November 14th, 2003, in the Pech Valley and for whom the FOB was named, will remain with the 1st Bn., 327th Inf. Regt. as they return to Fort Campbell, KY, this spring.


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One Response to “Afghan National Army assumes responsibility of Forward Operating Base Blessing”

  1. blakeives Says:
    April 30th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Captain Springer,

    I am a professor of Information Systems at the University of Houston and I would very much welcome the opportunity to talk you about your experience developing Tactical Nav. We could either do this by skype or a series of emails. My email address is .

    Thanks

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