FOB KALA GUSH, Afghanistan-Provincial Reconstruction Team Nuristan welcomed home Cmdr. Russell McCormack and five other team members Sept. 23 from a month long mission in Barg-e Matal, Afghanistan.
When McCormack, a Navy F-18 Super Hornet pilot, with 25 years of military service volunteered to command a PRT mission, he never imagined it would be one of the highlights of his career.
“It was exciting watching villagers vote during the elections a little after a month of when the Taliban and Anti Afghan Forces occupied the village of Barg-e Matal,” said McCormack. “I also led the best soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines American Forces has to offer and the best Afghanistan National Security Forces.”
While in Barg-e Matal, PRT Nuristan conducted many missions. Most of the missions consisted of distributing humanitarian aid like wheat, rice, beans, flower, sugar, salt and oil. McCormack and team conducted governance work, assisted the resupply of medical supplies in the Barg-e Matal medical clinic, and coordinated the creation of village’s Artillery Security Force, who was in charge of village security.
On the small team was Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Parker, who is a part of the Construction Battalion in the Navy. In Barg-e Matal, his responsibilities ranged from ensuring quality assurance, quality control, and being the pay agent for the team.
Jordan said the most rewarding experience for him was, “Seeing local villagers start to rebuild their homes and businesses, as well as, see AFNS mature and take charge of their own village security.”
Despite a lot of kinetic activity by AAF, Taliban and Coalition Forces, there were no civilians injured or killed during PRT Nuristan’s month of nonstop missions to help Barg-e Matal regain independence against insurgents.
McCormack said that the biggest take away from Barg-e Matal is, “There is a need for a basic understanding for civil responsibility and self determination on the part of Afghan leadership, at the village, provincial, and national level of government.”
FOB Kala Gush, Nuristan Afghanistan- Cmdr. Russell McCormack, left and Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Parker (SEABEE), far right, pose for a photo before flying off to Barg-e Matal. (U.S. Navy photo/Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Parker RELEASED)