By U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ashley Hawkins
Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. servicemembers at Forward Operating Base Kalagush teamed up to respond to a call from the National Directorate of Security about an improvised explosive device found in eastern Afghanistan’s Nengarach village, Dec. 31.
U.S. Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment were on their way to a security shura in Alingar when they received a call from Hanan, the NDS chief, stating there were rumors of an IED located near the Nengarach village.
The rumor was reported the day prior, and prompted the NDS and an Embedded Training Team with the Afghan National Army to set up security that day and immediately look for the device, only to come up empty handed.
Viewing the search as a personal failure, NDS Chief Hanan decided to wake his troops up early morning, Dec. 31, to search the area again for the explosive device, and were successful. Feeling accomplished in his task, Hanan immediately notified Task Force Steel of the find and that more security and a professional team to deactivate the device were needed.
Right away, the mission shifted from going to a security shura to locating a small propane tank filled with 10 to 15 pounds of explosives, and disarming it.
Coincidentally, the Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team was already there on a security patrol.
“We were doing a morning dismounted security patrol from Quandalay to Nengarach village,” U.S. Navy Lt. Brian Ferguson, Nuristan PRT convoy operations officer from Annapolis, Md., said. “We got a call from 2-77 wanting assistance in locating an IED and deactivating it.”
Once the two teams met up, they requested an explosive ordinance disposal team for assistance. An EOD team from FOB Mehtar Lam, in Laghman province, was already in the area and were the quickest to respond.
“After we got the word there was an IED, we drove there and saw that it was about 200 feet off the road, hidden in a ravine,” U.S. Army Capt. Rich Ingleby from Salt Lake City, Utah, said. “We were glad to see [Nuristan PRT], because we really needed the extra help. All of us came together to set up a vehicle patrol base, and went down to the site.”
“Along with EOD, eight of us went down there,” U.S. Army Sgt. Samuel Sharp, 2nd Bn., 77th FA Regt. intelligence section chief from Fairfax, Va., said. “There were four [from the 2nd Bn. 77th FA Regt.], two from PRT and two from the 984th Military Police Company, 759th MP Battalion, who are attached to the [2nd Bn. 77th FA Regt.]”
After the propane tank was blown up, pictures were taken of the damaged area so Coalition Forces could follow up on the site and reconstruct all damages.
“I think all of us coming together really highlighted the security of overall Afghans,” Sharp said. “It shows their trust and ability to work with coalition security forces, coalition civil assistance groups and their own Afghan security for the immediate, positive benefit for Afghanistan.”