Written by Sgt. Justin Moeller
4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division
Khowst Province, Afghanistan – For the last time, U.S. Army soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Division, exited through the gates of Forward Operating Base Salerno, after transitioning the FOB to Afghan National Security Forces.
“For 10 years, America’s sons and daughters have been here,” said Col. Val C. Keaveny Jr., commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “Today, we bring an end to an era.”
For the last time, U.S. Army soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Division, exited through the gates of Forward Operating Base Salerno, after transitioning the FOB to Afghan National Security Forces.
This transition is memorable for Keaveny as well, for he was the operations officer in charge with 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, the unit that first opened FOB Salerno back in 2003.
“This transition marks a historic milestone for both the 4th Brigade Combat Team and our ANA partners,” said Keaveny. “Their increased capacity, capability and confidence has resulted in an better security posture for the people of Khowst.”
“The message that should resonate loud and clear to the people of Khost is that the ANSF are firmly in charge of the security of the province,” said Lt. Col. Scott Kirkpatrick, commander of 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Division. “This new base provided them yet another platform to continue to pursue the enemies of Afghanistan.”
The citizens of Khowst see the ethics the ANA operate under and know it is better than the alternative.
“The Afghan National Army’s morality is better than the Taliban’s, and the people know it,” explained ANA Brig. Gen. Mohammad Nasir, commander of the 1st Brigade, 203rd Corps. “The people are respecting the ANA more and more. Children are going to school, farmers are planting, and shop owners are conducting business because they are feeling more secure.”
The increase in commerce, access to education for children and increase in farming is a direct result of the effort put forth by the ANA to provide security for their people.
“The successful transfer of Forward Operating Base Salerno to the ANSF is indicative of the hard work and effort of the Currahees and their partnered ANA brothers of the 203rd ANA Corps,” Keaveny expressed. “This transfer signifies that the Afghan National Security Forces have complete security responsibility for the province of Khowst.”