Talking Proud Archives --- Military

Special Forces ODA 3336 deep in the Hindu Kush, gallantry and courage

By Ed Marek, editor

March 16, 2009 re-published February 26, 2018

ODA 3336 and the 201st Kandak

The two main military outfits involved in the April 6, 2008 attack in the Shok Valley, Afghanistan after the high value target HIG were US Special Forces ODA 3336 and the Afghan 1st Company, 201st Kandak Commandos. I have reported earlier, and will report again when I describe the battle, the USAF combat controllers with the 21st Special Tactics Squadron were also on the ground integrated with ODA 3336. For this report, I am going to concentrate on the two Army units.

A military organization's lineage is important. It gives those presently serving historical context and brotherhood with those who have served before them, and high standards to meet, and for the old guys, it's uplifting to see the present generation carrying on with valor, courage, and honor

ODA 3336 translates to Detachment 6, Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), 3rd SFG (A), US Army (USA).

So let's look at the 3rd SFG (A).


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1st Special Service Force members being briefed at Anzio, Italy during WWII, before setting out on a patrol. Photo credit: Yousuf Karsh. From the Library and Archives of Canada. Presented by wikipedia.

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The 3rd SFG(A) traces its lineage back to the 1st Special Service Force (SSF) in WWII, known as “The Devil’s Brigade," some men of whom appear in the above photo.

The 1st SSF was a combined US-Canadian commando unit organized in 1942. As a result it was also known as the "North Americans."

It did much of its training at Ft. William Henry Harrison, Helena, Montana; and also at Camp Bradford and Ft. Ethan Allen, Vermont. It fought in Italy and southern France, and some of its force deployed to the Aleutian Islands in the US landings there to throw out the Japanese. The 1st was disbanded in December 1944 in France, but most of its troops were sent to other combat units in Europe.

Largely based on this experience, and that of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which evolved into the CIA, the Army officially organized the Special Forces (SF) in 1952, starting with about 2,300 men and assigned to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

When the military organizes something new, it normally does so because of the dogged, unrelenting leadership of a few men, and these men, once given the task they asked for, have to do nearly all the leg work, begging, and "borrowing" to get everything going. They often get scarce support from the higher-ups and they have to prove that their idea was a good one. It's almost never a cake-walk, even when the project is of very high priority. Such was the case with the SF.

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Col. Aaron Bank was and remains known as the Father of US Army Special Forces, shown here from the book, US Counter-Terrorist Forces by Fred J. Pushies, Terry Griswold, D.M. Giangreco and S.F. Tomajczyk.

Bank was an Army captain with the OSS. He was assigned to "special operations," (SO), which was involved in sabotage and guerrilla warfare. He would lead OSS Operation Jedburgh into France. He, one French officer, and one French radioman, parachuted into France, linked up with some French guerrillas in General de Gaulle's force, and liberated several towns. There is an excellent summary of his work
presented by the California State Military Department. He later served in China and in Laos against the Japanese.

Following WWII, Bank and others who fought guerrilla style warfare fought for a formal organization to fight that way in the Army. He had to contend with those who felt only conventional forces were needed, but he and his colleagues were convincing and they won the day.

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As I indicated earlier, when someone has a "good idea" that he "sells" to the brass, the Army in its wisdom puts him in charge. In the spring of 1952, Col. Bank went to Ft. Bragg to choose a location for the headquarters, and found one known to all Special Forces operators as Smoke Bomb Hill. It is shown in B&W and highlighted by a yellow arrow on the modern map of Ft. Bragg above. The area in the yellow box is Pope AFB, which is nearly completely dedicated to the airborne and special forces from Ft. Bragg, and is located adjacent to Ft. Bragg.

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Members of the 10th SFG (A) during mountain training. They would not normally wear the berets while in garrison, but they wore them when in the field. It took the personal intervention of President Kennedy to get the green berets authorized to identify the soldiers as SF. Photo drawn from US Counter-Terrorist Forces by Fred J. Pushies, Terry Griswold, D.M. Giangreco and S.F. Tomajczyk. As is also usually the case, the guy with the good idea who sold it and is put in charge is then confronted with having to find his own resources, and he quickly finds he has to do that by any means available. Some such organizers come perilously close to getting court-martialed! Col. Bank had to first get some men, not just any men, but experienced soldiers. His task was to form up the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) (SFG-A). The 10th SFG, 1st Special Forces Regiment (1st Special Forces), activated in June 1952 at Ft. Bragg with a handful of men, seven enlisted, one warrant officer and Col. Bank. But by the end of June he had 122 officers and men, many of whom were seasoned OSS, Airborne, Ranger and foreign troops. The Lodge Act of 1950 authorized the recruitment of foreign nationals for the US military. The foreigners Bank brought in were largely from eastern Europe who fled to the US when the Soviets took over. The SF mission at the time was to conduct partisan warfare behind Soviet Army lines, so these highly trained foreign soldiers from eastern Europe would be most helpful. Following WWII, the Cold War was on and a fighting war broke out in Korea, supported by the Soviets and Chinese.

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Uprising near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, June 1953. Photo supplied by SGM (Ret) Samuel Goldstein and Col. (Ret) Adolf E. Shanze, presented by US Military Liaison Mission.org But the Soviets had their own problems. In 1953 an uprising occurred in East Germany. The Soviets suppressed it with great strength. Barbed wire fences went up to separate the two Berlins, though traffic was still allowed to flow. But it got so bad, in July the Soviets shut down the flow by military from the other three occupation nations, the US, Britain and France, into East Berlin. The Soviets shut down East Berlin for about a month to get in control of the uprisings. The 10th SFG (A) might have only formed up in 1952, but Ft. Bragg was not the place for them --- they were deployed promptly to Germany.

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Flint Kaserne, Bad Tolz, West Germany, 10th SFG forward base, September 1953. Presented by 10th SFG (A). Part of the 10th went to Germany, forward based at Flint Kaserne, Bad Tolz, south of Munich, West Germany in 1953, not far from Austria to the south, and southern East Germany to the east. More and more foreign soldiers, many with families behind the building Iron Curtain, joined up and integrated into the 10th SFG. Eight Operational "A" Detachments formed at Flint and then were sent to West Berlin. Their mission changed from one of infiltrating behind Soviet lines to a "stay behind" mission wherein they would conduct unconventional warfare should the Soviets invade.

The remainder of the 10th stayed at Ft. Bragg to form the 77th SFG. Operational detachments then started to form, the 14th SFOD to Vietnam in the late 1950s, and then the 12th, 13th and 16th SFODs. These three were all combined into the 8231st Army Special Operations Detachment, which then joined the 14th SFOD to form the 1st SFG in Okinawa, Japan in June 1957, under President Eisenhower, assigned to operations in the Far East. The 77th SFG at Bragg was redesignated the 7th SFG. The 1st SFG immediately began training Vietnamese commandos at Nha Trang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

The net result was that by the time President Kennedy came to office, we had three groups, the 7th at Bragg, the 10th in Germany and the 1st in Okinawa with men deployed to the RVN training Vietnamese. SF training of foreign forces frequently involves their going with the commandos they are training into combat situations. Such was surely the case in the RVN, long before the US officially went to war in Indochina.

President Kennedy assigned great importance to special forces. He was a big believer in counter-insurgency operations to be fought mainly against guerrilla movements.

In a
"Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs" delivered on May 25, 1961, Kennedy identified the southern Hemisphere as a "great battleground" and said that the US Army had to be reorganized to "deter or resist non-nuclear aggression." He equated the southern Hemisphere to the Third World, a place where small-scale military operations could be employed. He did not see a need to expand overall Army manpower levels significantly, but did want it reorganized and re-equipped. He then said this:

"In addition, our special forces and unconventional warfare units will be increased and reoriented. Throughout the services new emphasis must be placed on the special skills and languages which are required to work with local populations."

In September 1961, the 5th SFG was activated. In 1963 the 8th SFG, 6th SFG and then the 3rd SFG activated in that order.

President Kennedy was a force behind the SF being authorized to wear green berets. Most of them were wearing them anyway, despite instructions to the contrary from some Army brass. JFK saw them as "a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom." He took a personal interest in their wearing the Green Beret. As I had to learn a few things about the Green Beret, I thought I would run you through its wear.


regimentalinsignia
I said earlier that when the 10th SFG (A) was formed, it was subordinated to the 1st Special Forces Regiment, known as the 1st Special Forces, among other things paying respect to the lineage with the 1st SSF mentioned earlier. To my knowledge, the 1st Special Forces remains the only special forces regiment in the Army. This is its regimental insignia. The Latin motto means, "Liberate from Oppression." This regimental insignia is worn by officers and enlisted on their lapels on the top of their shoulders, and enlisted also wear it on the flash worn on their beret, which I will get to in a moment.


sfpatch

Special Forces soldiers wear this patch on their left shoulder sleeve. The arrowhead shape represents the craft and stealth of the Indians, America's first warriors. An upturned dagger represents the unconventional warfare missions of Special Forces.

Three lightning bolts represent blinding speed and strength, and the three methods of infiltration: land, sea and air.

3rdsfgflash
The Army has something it calls beret flashes. These identify the unit to which the soldier belongs and is worn on the beret, whether for Airborne (maroon beret), Ranger (tan beret), or Special Forces (green beret). Since we will be talking about the 3rd SFG (A), I am showing you its beret flash.

And then, of course, the beret. In the case of Special Forces, the beret is green, the famed "Green Beret." Officers will wear their rank on the beret flash on their green beret, while the enlisted force will wear the regimental insignia. They all will wear the patches on the left shoulder.

3rdsfgsoldierberet

This is a 3rd SFG (A) soldier from Ft. Bragg posing for a photo with former Secretary of State Rice, July 6, 2007. Note the green beret, 3rd SFG (A) beret flash, with the Regimental Insignia attached. If he were an officer, he would not wear the insignia on the flash but instead wear his rank.

sfshoulderpatch

In this photo, you see Sgt. First Class Bruce Holmes, 3rd SFG (A), receiving a Silver Star Medal for valor. Note the Special Forces shoulder patch on his left shoulder sleeve. As you see soldiers walking around with their green berets, you'll know that the green makes them special forces, you'll see the shoulder patches on the left shoulder, and the flash will identify their special forces group. Global Special Operations presents a good collection of special forces group patches.When you see them, thank them for their service.

jfkwestpoint
On June 6, 1962, Mr. Kennedy spoke to the graduating class of West Point. Among other things, he said this:

"You may hold a position of command with our special forces, forces which are too unconventional to be called conventional. Forces which are growing in number and importance and significance. And these are the kinds of challenges that will be before us in the next decade. If freedom is to be safe, it requires a whole new kind of strategy, a wholly different kind of force, and therefore a wholly new and different kind of military training."

President Eisenhower had already sent elements of the 1st SFG to South Vietnam, originally about 16 men in June 1956. That number would rise rapidly.

jfkvietbrief1961

President Kennedy in a televised press conference discussing the arrival of American military advisers in Vietnam, 1961. Presented by squidoo.com Kennedy followed that up by sending 500 SF troops and military advisers to South Vietnam in 1961, long before the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964. Two A-Teams were sent to the Central Highlands in 1961, working with the CIA, to recruit and train local villagers to fight against the enemy, outside the South Vietnamese Regular Army. Kennedy would ramp up the total number of US military advisers there to 16,000 before he died. By 1964, the 5th SFG was assigned primary responsibility for Army special forces operations in Vietnam. To this day SF soldiers lay a wreath and green beret at the president's tomb.

logptjfkswcs

Log physical training at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, presented on Facebook. The school for training Army SF is named the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in his honor. Many Americans have heard of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, designed to advance the "public interest." My bet is not many of them know about the US Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School to train Green Beret special forces to "get 'er done."The "old man" liked Harvard, but he loved his Green Berets! The 3rd SFG was first activated in December 1963 at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, Colonel James B. Bartholomees, USA, in command, West Point 1942. The bulk of the group was activated in 1963-64, organized as Special Action Force (SAF), and members went on Mobil Training Teams (MTT) to the Far East, Middle East and Africa. In 1965 MTTs including group members were deployed to Ethiopia, the Congo, Columbia, Mail, Argentina and Iraq. In December 1965 members began heading to Vietnam and served there through 1969, after which it was deactivated and dispersed among other SF groups. Following the Indochina War, the Army returned to its focus on conventional warfare and deactivated the 3rd, 6th and 8th SFGs. However, when President Reagan came to office, emphasis on special forces was reinvigorated.

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The 3rd SFG (Airborne), the group to which ODA 3336 was assigned, was activated at Ft. Bragg on June 29, 1990. The group has three battalions. Each has soldiers trained in military freefall, combat swimming, counter-terrorism, air assault, fast walking and, of course, walking and climbing in and out.

Each battalion usually has a headquarters detachment, four companies, one support and three SF Companies. Some might tend to see the support company as a “ho-hum” deal. Not so. These soldiers do everything, from intelligence support, combat service support, and signal support to deployed operational elements. Each SF Company has about eight officers, seven warrant officers, and 67 enlisted soldiers, about 82 in all.

Each company has six SF Operational Detachment (SFOD) Operational “A” Detachments, known as ODAs. The ODA is the core of SF operations. The ODA normally has 12 men assigned, two officers and 10 enlisted, usually commanded by a captain. One ODA often works with a foreign battalion-size element, which was the case for ODA 3336, which worked with the Afghan 201st Kandak. The enlisted men have specialties, serving in intelligence, weapons, demolition-engineer, communications and medical fields. Each ODA trains to operate in two six-man teams.

Once formed, the 3rd SFG’s first responsibilities were the Caribbean and western Africa, largely training. Africa became its principal area of responsibility (AOR), except for the Horn. An important mission for the 3rd was the Africa Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), a State Department program, mainly to train African forces to operate as rapidly deployable peacekeeping outfits. By the end of 2002, the 3rd had trained some 5,500 African troops from Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria to Uganda, Malawi, Ethiopia and Mali. Some from the 3rd also went to Trinidad and Tobago

Let's back up just a bit. The 5th SFG(A) is the group assigned primary responsibility to the Central Command (CENTCOM) for Southwest Asia. However, one battalion of the 3rd SFG was and remains on line to support the CENTCOM as well.

Almost immediately after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, and very shortly after being formed, three teams from the 3rd went to Saudi Arabia along with the 5th SFG(A). At the time of deployment, the 3rd was still receiving its complement of men, most of whom were experienced special forces soldiers. A group headquarters and the 1st Battalion went.

On January 17, 1991, the US began its attack against Iraq, Operation Desert Storm. By January 27 the main body of the 3rd SFG(A) left Ft. Bragg for Saudi Arabia. The Group was assigned operations in Iraq and Kuwait. By April 26, 1991, the main body of the group returned to the US, mission accomplished.

As described previously, the 3rd Group spent most of its time from activation through 2002 training African forces.

In March 2002, elements of the 3rd SFG participated in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, the first major offensive operation there since 2001.

anacondamap

This is a nice map, presented by Time Magazine's description of Operation Anaconda. This map gives a glimpse at the geography of the country and some important place names. The mountains, the western part of the Hindu Kush, cover much of the heart of the country. Operation Anaconda, controversial to this date, was conducted in the Shah-I-Kot Valley to the south of Kabul, at elevations above 10,000 ft., in March 2002. This operation was the first large-scale Army ground-force operation in Afghanistan. It involved forces from the 10th Mountain and 101st Airborne Divisions, along with special forces, and forces from other nations. SFG soldiers were embedded with Afghan forces in the fight. Capt. Matthew McHale, USA, led ODA 372 (old numbering system), a team from the 3rd SFG, in the fight.

mchalestanley
His number two, CW2 Stanley "Stan the Man" Harriman, was the first soldier killed in the battle, on the first day, killed by friendly fire from an USAF AC-130 gunship as he led a convoy through a mountain pass choke point. The AC-130 misidentified the convoy. One of the major points of controversy in this battle centered on command and control arrangements and the fact that the lines of command between the combined task force commander and USAF air were unclear at best. A second criticism was that intelligence underestimated, some would say grossly underestimated, enemy strength.

While this operation remains controversial, and many lessons were learned, the facts are that the US suffered eight killed in action, 72 wounded, and estimates of enemy killed range well over 100. Setting those numbers aside, the US forced the enemy out of the Shah-I-Kot Valley.

3rdsfgkabul2002

Men of the 3rd SFG in Kabul, spring 2002, posing in front of buildings already destroyed in fighting. Presented by Lt. Colonel Steve Russell, USA. In May 2002 the 1st Battalion 3rd SFG was tasked to train new Afghan National Army (ANA) forces. Some time in mid-2002, the 3rd SFG took over from the 5th, and was supported by one battalion from the 7th SFG and some from the National Guard. In 2003, elements of the 3rd SFG were sent to Iraq and participated in that invasion.

3rdsfggunsalute

Soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) fire off volleys outside the John F. Kennedy Memorial Chapel at Fort Bragg, N.C., September 24, 2004 during a memorial service for 3rd SFG Soldiers Staff Sgt. Robert S. Goodwin and Staff Sgt. Tony B. Olaes, who were killed while on patrol in Afghanistan. Photo credit: Gillian M. Albro, USASOC PAO. As you should expect, you see very little detail on 3rd SFG(A) operations in Afghanistan beyond training. However, I have seen plenty of photos of men from the group fighting and lost there in 2002 through 2008. Men such as Sgt. Jason T. Palmerton, SFC James S. Ochsner, SSgt. Kyu H. Chay, SSgt. Robert Miller, Capt. Daniel Eggers, Capt. Clayton Eugene Palmrose, SSgt Robert S. Goodwin, and SSgt Toney B. Olaes to name just a few. I have also seen photos of men lost in Iraq. The 3rd SFG(A) has served and it has sacrificed. Of that you can be sure. You can also be sure that the men of the 3rd SFG(A), and all those SF forces in combat, performed with great courage and gallantry. I am one among many who are part of a "grateful nation," sacred words spoken to family members of those lost in combat. I'll stop here on the 3rd SFG's background, though we will talk more about them while describing background for the ANA's 201st Commando Kandak.

201stsoldier

A member of the 201st Commando Kandak pulls security in the village of Galuch during an operation there April 27, 2008. Photo credit: Cpl. Wayne K. Pitsenberger, USA. Presented by The Tension. So let's take a look at ODA 3336's partner in the operation we are addressing, the Afghan National Army (ANA) 1st Company, 201st Kandak Commandos. The word Kandak roughly works out to be the equivalent of a US battalion.

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The ANA has existed in various forms since the 1880s. During the 1960s to early 1990s, the Soviet Union trained the ANA, an army which had some 200,000 soldiers at its peak. At the time, the ANA allied with the Soviets to fight against those Afghans trying to throw the Soviets out. The ANA fell apart thereafter. The Taliban had its own army and did not have a requirement to reinstate the ANA. The current ANA started virtually from scratch following the American invasion and overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001. Not many Americans realize the ANA in its current form is a very new Army.


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The first recruits for the new Afghan National Army. Presented by Lt. Colonel Steve Russell, USA.

The 1st Battalion, 3rd SFG trained the first battalions of the new ANA. Training began in May 2002. The force that graduated from training numbered something like 1,700 soldiers. They formed up into five Kandaks. Desertion at the outset was a huge problem.

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New recruits in the Afghan National Army (ANA) receive training, advice and assistance from 1st Battalion, 3rd SFG. In this photo, Afghan recruits listen to an Afghan officer explaining how an obstacle course will be conducted at a military academy near Kabul. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Mike Buytas, USAF. Nonetheless, the ANA had a force of 5,000 trained troops by July 2003. One thousand of those engaged in their first combat operation that same month. The ANA numbers somewhere over 80,000 at present. The latest projection is that it will reach 134,000 downstream, some 86,000 by summer 2009.

anatraininga

Trainees from the 1st Battalion, ANA, practice drill and ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan. The program of instruction is approximately 10 weeks long, during which time they learn basic soldier skills and progress to more complex tasks. The training is led by approximately 275 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group. Photo credit: Senior Airman Bethan Hunt, USAF. The Kandak, roughly a battalion in our force, about 600 soldiers, is the basic unit. Brigades include about six battalions. The country is divided into five corps.

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Map of Afghan National Army Order of Battled courtesy of The Long War Journal

This map is not completely up-to-date, but it does show the five corps and brigades subordinate to those corps. The 1-201 means 1st Brigade, 201st Corps. Some additions to this have been in the mill though I have not verified whether they actually happened or are still planned. The Long War Journal, from which this map came, seems to be the best source for the ANA's order of battle. In the Journal's June 2008 update, it said that by September 2009, the ANA was to have 15 brigades, while this map shows only 12. Of the 15, thirteen were to be infantry, one armored, one commando, and one support. The ANA would then have 78 battalions, of which 40 would be infantry, six commando, two armored-mechanized, 15 combat support and 15 combat service support. Both the 201st and 203rd Corps are scheduled to receive one more brigade. That would mean the three most volatile corps all bordering with Pakistan each would have four brigades. I want to focus on the commando brigade, because this brigade is the one that supplied forces to fight with ODA 3336 on April 6, 2008. The commando brigade is a fairly recent development for the ANA.

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ANA commandos, part of the first Afghan commando battalion, the 201st, run in a mock raid during a training exercise in the Rish Khvor district on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan on July 18, 2007. Presented by Military Photos. The 3rd SFG, along with the 7th SFG, have had the lead role in training the Afghan commandos, using, amongst others, a former Soviet and Taliban training base in the town of Rish Khvor, near Kabul, in the mountains in eastern Afghanistan.

campmooreheadtraining

Afghan National Army soldiers practice clearing a room under the watchful eye of their U.S. Army instructor during training at Morehead Commando Training Center, June 4, 2007. These men would form the 201st Commando Kandak. Photo credit: Cherie A. Thurlby. Presented by Army Central. It is now known as the Morehead Commando Training Center. Donna Miles, reporting for American Forces Press Service, said:

moreheadkevin

"The center is named for Army Master Sgt. Kevin Morehead, a 5th Special Forces Group soldier killed in Ramadi, Iraq, in September 2003. Morehead earned distinction here for his efforts in rounding up terror suspects, along with a handshake of thanks from President Bush."

commandopatch
I believe training began in May 2007. The 201st Commando Kandak was the first to graduate in July 2007, Lt. Col. Fareed Ahmadi in command. The 201st was fighting by September.

The 203rd graduated in October 2007, and was fighting by December.

The 205th graduated in January 2008 and was in a fight that month.

The 207th graduated in May 2008.

207thmission

I don't know if this was required of the other battalions, but the 207th did not graduate until it first participated in an operational mission. In this photo, credited to Sgt. Corey Dennis and presented by dvids, you see members of the 207th Commando Kandak move toward their objective in order to clear a village and confirm or deny the presence of insurgents, during their pre-graduation mission, Commando Crush, in Kapisa province, April 21-24, 2008. During the operation the Commandos supported by coalition forces captured one insurgent, killed one other who tried to mount an attack against the Commandos and recovered weapons, improvised explosive device making material and rockets.

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Afghan National Army 201st Commando Kandak prepare to deploy on first mission in southern Afghanistan, February 19, 2008. Photo credit: Spc. Rhett Hillard, USA. Presented by The Tension. Technically, each Commando Kandak is assigned to its corresponding corps. That said, this photo shows the 201st from the Kabul Corps on its first mission in the southern Helmand Province in February, 2008, home of the 205th Commando Kandak. Of course, the 205th just graduated in January 2008 and Helmand was and remains a busy, volatile place. The moral of the story, as is the case with US SF, the Kandak Commandos go where they are needed. As an aside, there's a nice report on the 201st's first mission in Helmand Province which I commend to you. This is no fly-by-night outfit --- according to ODA 3336 members, who helped train them, they are first class. With those four Commando Kandaks operational, our SF had trained about 4,000 Afghan commandos. At the time, Lt. Colonel Lynn Ashley, USA, commander 3rd Battalion, 3rd SFG, said this: "Our guys live with them and train with them every day, share all the hardships and are with them shoulder to shoulder on the objective. They really become brothers in arms."

afghancommandostruck

Afghan commandos, with the help of coalition forces, drive to a joint mission to arrest a weapons dealer in a village near Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Presented by fresh.co.il Afghan commandos, like their US counterparts, are designed to going after high value targets. They are a real asset to the US SF forces because they speak the language, know the culture, can deal with the locals easily, and can gather intelligence fast. As one would expect, they also have a capacity to sniff out an enemy in hiding. They know the tricks. Many readers might get a kick out of knowing that they use Ford Ranger pickup trucks to get around! This was some background on our two outfits engaged in the Shok Valley of Afghanistan in April 2008, ODA 3336 of the 3rd SFG and the 201st Commando Kandak. If you have hung in with this report from the beginning, you have covered a lot of ground and, I hope, you have a better understanding of the history and environment of Afghanistan, and the lineage and organization of US special forces and the Afghan commandos. It's now time to keep all that background in your memory bank as I summarize the battle of April 6, 2008 in the Shok Valley. I get scolded from time to time for making my reports too long. As you will see from this battle, these men deserve our spending a little time to understand the background I have provided and more.