204TH BRIGADE SUPPORT BATTALION
Rough Rider Connection V O L U M E
I S S U E
O C T O B E R
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Greetings Rough Rider Families and Friends, SPECIAL POINTS OF INTEREST:
A Message from Rough Rider 7 Rough Rider 10-Miler Team A Rough Rider Christmas ANA Sustainment Operations Alpha Company Coins Rough Rider Operations Section Deputy Commanding Gen-
eral-Support Visits FOB Walton
I want to take a few minutes to update you on the great work being executed by your Soldiers. The Battalion has done so many non-standard missions that it becomes hard to keep up. First and foremost is the force protection mission of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Walton. This encompasses not only the manning of guard towers but operating a 24/7 Entry Control Point (ECP) aka front gate. This work is not normal duty for many of Soldiers assigned to the Battalion but they take the responsibility serious and work very hard at accomplishing the mission in a professional manner every day. We have also expanded our partnership with the Afghanistan National Army (ANA). The Battalion is very close to executing joint patrols with the ANA. This is a big step for not only the Battalion but the ANA as well. These missions are what will make for a smooth transition as we look to turn over operations to the Afghanistan government. Simultaneously we are also training the Afghanistan Uniform Police (AUP) in logistics operations. Again, so that we may not only help now but in the future when the United States Army is no longer here. The bottom line is that while this is not the missions your Soldiers may have been trained for, they continue to step up and take more responsibility than what is asked of them. The Brigade echoes this fact as it continues repeatedly to turn to the Rough Riders for non-standard missions. The Battalion has never failed and on the contrary excelled in every mission and/or task given without hesitation. It is this very can do attitude that makes us as an Army successful and will lead to the eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Again, I cannot stress the importance of the mission being accomplished and ask for your continued support as we approach the half way mark of this deployment. Thank You. Rough Riders!
CPT Ashlea Cleveland 1LT Betsy Arndt
Troy J. Tuten CSM, USA Command Sergeant Major
Todd S. Bertulis LTC, LG Commanding
This newsletter contains official and unofficial information. The inclusion of some unofficial information in this newsletter has not increased the cost to the Government, in accordance with DOD 4525.8-M
Rough Rider 10-Miler Team Competes at Kandahar Airfield By an Anonymous Rough Rider Soldier KANDAHAR, Afghanistan—Mile 1: You are excited, almost jumping with each stride and feel as if you could run forever. Mile 2: You are slowing down quite a bit now and thinking you may have started a little too fast. Mile 3: A small pain has developed in your side and will not go away. Mile 4: The pain in your side is now screaming at you and your feet are on fire. Mile 5: You know for sure the fluid in your socks is not sweat and then the exasperating reality hits you… YOU ARE ONLY HALF WAY DONE! On the 2nd of October 2011 five Rough Riders competed with seven hundred other participants in the Army Ten Miler at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. CPT James Neiner, CPT Nichole Bluemle, CPT Marshall Glenister, 1LT Tommy Hoang, and SSG Kissoondial Ramotar are all experienced runners and enjoy spending their time competing with others. CPT Neiner, the Rough Riders‟ primary physician, has the most experience of the group having al-
ready run four marathons among many other types of long distance races. SSG Ramotar works in the clinic with CPT Neiner and often talks about competing in races. When asked what he enjoys most about competition, he replied, “Competing with yourself and trying to accomplish a personal best”. However, his 13th place finish in a field of seven hundred is a statement all on its own. CPT Bluemle, the Battalion‟s physical therapist, works long hours every day helping to rehabilitate injured Soldiers, so that they can return to duty. When asked what she liked most about the race she said, “It‟s great to be around motivated people”, and that she “enjoyed seeing all the people from different countries encouraging each other to keep going and do a good job”. She did a pretty „good job‟ herself in this race finishing within the top ten of the women‟s group. The race started in the center of Kandahar Airfield and went almost all
The team from left to right: CPT Nichole Bluemle, SSG Kissoondial Ramotar, CPT Marshall Glenister, CPT James Neiner and 1LT Tommy Hoang.
the way around the base before the competitors came to the turnaround point. The overall winning time for the Kandahar 10-miler was just over 60 minutes, averaging 6 minutes per mile! All five of the Rough Rider runners ran really well on this day, with everyone finishing in the top 10 percentile and 1LT Hoang taking fourth place. Although only the first place runners in the men and women‟s categories took home plaques, the Rough Riders proved that with a „never give up attitude‟ and a tightly laced pair of running shoes, everyone can truly be a winner.
A Rough Rider Christmas FORT CARSON, Colorado—This year for most of our 204th BSB Rough Rider Soldiers, Christmas will come to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. A lucky few will have the opportunity to travel home and be with loved ones to enjoy the Christmas holiday. For the majority of our Rough Rider Soldiers, Christmas will be shipped into Kandahar Province, and brought to them. Rough Rider Family members far and wide are working together to bring Christmas to the Soldiers this year. Family members are sending holiday music, movies, decorations and goodies to their deployed Soldiers. The Rear Detachment is collecting new or used Christmas decorations; lights, trees, ornament, displays, to ship to our Hero‟s overseas as well. Some Christmas packages are already making their way to the deployed units. Families are also planning to work together to send homemade cookies and treats to the
Soldiers to help bring a little taste of home. Spending Christmas far away from Family and friends, while on a military deployment, is not what Soldiers desire during their military career, but it has become a regular phenomenon that they have learned to adapt to. For Family members, it is hard to imagine their Soldiers alone during the holidays and they want to do whatever they can to help send a little of home to the Soldiers. This year, the Rough Rider Battalion is working to make this a memorable Christmas by turning their corner of Afghanistan into the “Griswold Family Christmas” from the movie “Christmas Vacation.” Nothing can replace the feeling of being surrounded by loved ones at home during the holidays, but by sending items from home, Family members are helping to share that love not only with their Soldier, but the Battalion as a whole. The 204th BSB
Rear Detachment will be collecting items from Family and friends and sending items forward by November 19th. Back at Fort Carson, the Brigade will be having a holiday celebration on 9 December at the Special Events Center on post at 5:30 PM. Many activities have been planned for the evening to include face painting, crafts, bounce houses as well as food and drinks. Also available at the Brigade holiday party, Military Family Voices will be giving Family members an opportunity to send their deployed Soldier a recorded holiday message. Santa will be in attendance as well for all of the children to visit before the big day! Even as the majority of our Rough Rider Soldiers and Family members are separated from their loved ones, we wish for all to find strength, resiliency and joy in the holiday season.
Assisting the Afghan Army with Sustainment Operations By SPC Natasha Gaskins, Bravo Company Public Affairs Representative KANDAHAR, Afghanistan—The Logistical Training Advisory Team (LTAT) was developed to help train the Afghan Uniform Police (AUP) to sustain themselves. The 204th‟s LTAT team consists of 1LT Adam Stear who is the LTAT Officer in Charge (OIC), SFC Lyle Hobbs the Non Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC), SGT Christopher Griffin the medical trainer, SGT Michael Gronkowski, the communications advisor and SPC Shaidi Matata and SPC Jerrimy Breckenridge are fuel specialists within the LTAT. The LTAT conducts a variety of instruction that address the basics of communications, maintenance, first aid, and weapons familiarization. This training is packaged into Sustainment Excellence Days that are conducted every Tuesday and Satur-
Some of the members of the LTAT are pictured above. Kneeling from left to right: SPC Shadi Matata and SPC Jerrimy Breckenridge. Standing from left to right: SGT Michael Gronkowski, 1LT Adam Stear and SFC Lyle Hobbs.
SPC Gregory Hill teaches the AUP the basics of caring for their vehicles.
Training (PDT), which is focused on teaching logistics classes to coalition forces that work alongside AUP patrolmen on a daily basis. The LTAT is working towards pushing many of their initiatives including Sustainment Excellence Day and Partner Development Training throughout Kandahar City. As of 31OCT11, the LTAT has trained over 380 AUP with the Sustainment Excellence Days. The PDT is a fairly new program, but they have already trained 38 PSS mentors. The LTAT started combat life saving (CLS) classes in late October. There will be two different
Automotive Maintenance Systems (AMS). The contractors are available to service the AUP vehicles and guide them through technical aspects of vehicle repair. “The contractors help build confidence in the maintenance program with the AUP,” says SFC Hobbs. The LTAT assists the AUP communicate more effectively. “Many of the AUP use cell phones as a way to communicate with each other, so they are not familiar with radio operations,” says 1LT Stear. The LTAT provides this hand-held radio training to the AUP. There is also weapons familiarization training where the AUP fire their weapons at the FOB Above: The LTAT coaches the AUP on Walton range, so they can gain more the fundamentals at the firing range. experience and practice with their AK47 assault rifles. The LTAT facilitates the range by supplying targets and magazines, but the Police SubStations (PSS) who work daily and mentor the AUP actually operate the range. “The AUP work closely with the PSS every day, so having the PSS at the range allows the AUP to be more comfortable while shooting,” says 1LT Stear. The LTAT also facilitates Partner Development
day at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Walton. The training helps the Below: SGT Christopher Griffin demon- Above: CPT Rich Jones discusses a lesson plan with the AUP as his interAUP have a better understanding of strates how to apply a tourniquet. preter translates. basic maintenance procedures to apply when repairing or servicing classes, one for the AUP leadervehicles and weapons. While the ship and another class for the AUP are engaged in training, there AUP. The LTAT is helping the are local Afghani contractors who AUP improve their overall underrepair and service the AUP‟s vehicles standing and problem solving and weapons. The contracting comwhen it comes to logistics. “The panies who work on the AUP weapLTAT is a program that will help ons are Alpha Omega Services the AUP be more progressive in (AOS) and the vehicle company is the future,” says SPC Matata.
Alpha Company Recognizes Outstanding Soldiers By 1LT Christine Breckenridge, Alpha Company Public Affairs Representative KANDAHAR, Afghanistan—Alpha Company was proud to present eight outstanding Soldiers with Rough Rider Deployment coins and honor them for their achievements during the current deployment. Each of these Soldiers is an essential element of the Assassin family and should be recognized as such. SPC Jamarieo Barkley is a first time deployer and is performing in the position of an E-6. He has managed to ensure that the property book was complete without errors for the Company Commander. He has and continues to work on any deficiencies that have come up with the property book. SPC Barkley has linked up with other units as well as the rear detachment and worked numerous hours guaranteeing that all paperwork is accomplished prior to the change of command. He has taken initiative and cross-trained a 92A, Automated Logistics Specialist, during night shift on the procedures to correctly input the Army Direct Ordering (ADO) for the Soldiers of the Company. SPC Barkley motivates others in the platoon and helps keep the morale high. SPC Shawn Rogers has been assigned to over 53 missions as a Transport Operator, transporting over 2 million pounds of military cargo without incident. He was chosen to be the lead operator as-
signed on a high valued cargo mission and chosen for high priority recovery missions. He also supervises six Soldiers and completes every task in a timely and efficient manner. PFC Ryan Zanni has shown outstanding performance while serving as a member of the Company Intelligence Support Team (CoIST). His hard work on a daily basis ensures our convoys have the most updated an accurate information on enemy practices and all activity within Regional Command-South. PFC Zanni‟s knowledge of the battle space has proven to be an integral asset to daily operations. PFC Zanni has been on a number of convoys and conducted over 100 briefs to convoy members. PFC Andre Richardson has conducted over 15 missions in the past month with several of them being emergency missions. He prepared and accomplished them above the standard. He is a recent addition to the Transportation Platoon, but arrived with a high level of experience and competence. PFC Richardson assists his leaders by stepping up and leading and training his peers. He is the example for the rest of his squad members to follow. PFC Robert Johnston has conducted tower guard on multiple towers, totaling over 300 hours. PFC Johnston has also completed over 40 successful missions as a gunner for the Convoy Escort Team. He has
VIPs Visit FOB Walton Right: From right to left, Major General (MG) Huggins, RC-S and 82nd Airborne Division Commander, All American 6, LTC Stowell, SFAT10 Lead, LTC Bertulis, Rough Rider Commander, and LTC Smith, RC-S CJ4. Top Right: MG Huggins (center) enjoys a meal at the FOB Walton DFAC. Bottom Right: LTC Bertulis greets MG Huggins at the FOB Walton helicopter landing zone.
maintained his assigned crew served weapon and vehicle well above the platoon standard. PV2 Henry Topasna volunteers for all additional taskings. He displays initiative by taking action in the absence of orders. PV2 Topasna always arrives early before every mission to prepare his vehicle. PV2 Topasna maintains his assigned vehicle and weapon by keeping them spotless and in proper working order. PV2 Brandon Hanson has displayed great dedication and motivation during this deployment. His relentless work ethic is apparent in his accomplishment of all missions and tasks assigned to him. He has set the standard for all of his peers by taking initiative in the absence of instructions and does more than what is expected of all Soldier with his rank and experience. Above: PV2 Hanson receives a coin from LTC Bertulis. Below: Awardees stand in formation after they‟ve received their coins.
Rough Rider Operations Section By SFC Keith Sessom, 204th BSB, S-3 Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge KANDAHAR, Afghanistan— Hello again from the 204th S-3 section here at Forward Operating Base Walton. There have been a few changes to the section since the last article for the news letter. Over the last couple of months we have said good-bye to two great Soldiers from the S-3. MAJ Eric Reid, who wore two hats the last couple of months he was here as the Battalion Executive Officer (XO) and the S-3 Officer in Charge, has moved on to take a position with 4th Infantry Division Headquarters. We wish him the best of luck as he continues with his career and does great thing for the Army. SGT Phillip Harasek, who served as the day time operations NCO, has moved over to the Task Force Bison Logistics Training Advisory Team or LTAT. SGT Harasek will continue to do great things as he helps train with the Afghan Uniformed Police. As we have said good-bye to these great Soldiers, we have welcomed three new additions to the section.
MAJ Matthew Giertz has taken over as the 204th Brigade Support Battalion S-3. He came to us from Brigade S-4 shop and has hit the ground running. His knowledge and experience is a great asset to the S-3 section. The latest addition to the section is SFC Letha Gutierrez. SFC Gutierrez came to us from Alpha Company. SFC Gutierrez took over as the night time Battle Captain. She is in charge of tracking all convoys and movement during the night time and make sure our convoys have everything they need to conduct a successful mission. She is the direct link between the convoy commander and the battle space owner and the customer unit receiving the supplies that are being delivered. SFC Gutierrez is in charge of one sergeant and a Soldier during her shift. SGT Chatfield is the night time operations NCO. She helps with the battle captain in tracking convoys and personnel that are off the FOB at any given time and helps
the day shift by preparing the daily update briefs to the Battalion Commander in the morning. The Soldier they have with them on night shift is PFC Talford who was featured in our last article as the night time radio telephone operator. PFC Talford continues to do a great job monitoring all systems that help the battle captain track convoys and movement across the battle field. All of us in the Rough Rider Battalion continue to do great things every day. All of us here in the S3 section greatly appreciate your support and prayers for a safe homecoming. Till next time take care and we will see everyone soon.
Brigadier General Field Visits FOB Walton KANDAHAR, Afghanistan—On October 15, 2011 Brigadier General (BG) Christopher Field, the Deputy Commanding General of Force Development (DCG-FD) for Regional Command -South (RC-S) visited Forward Operating Base Walton to observe the Rough Riders‟ sustainment operations. Specifically, the DCG-FD participated in Sustainment Excellence Day (SED) (see story on page 3) and visited with policemen from a local Police Sub-Station (PSS) during their day of training and advisement. In the bottom left photo: LTC Bertulis welcomes BG Field at the helicopter landing zone at FOB Walton. Top left: 1SG Kennedy, Bravo Company explains actions at the range during SED to BG Field. Top center: SGT Michael Gronkowski discusses communications training. Top right: BG Field meets Afghan Uniformed Policemen during SED. Bottom right: 1LT Adam Stear walks BG Field through the process during vehicle maintenance training. ROUGH
The S-1 Shop
The Ma am’ AKA “Lucy”
SFC Johnson AKA “ Beaky”
The 204TH Brigade Support Battalion S-1 Shop The S-1 Shop is nearing our half way mark in the deployment and preparing for all the upcoming holidays. We have a lot of fun ideas to come for the holidays approaching and look forward to sharing them with you all . Thank you for all your love and support. We have been working hard on the final steps in our end of tour awards process and will soon be complete. We have also been busy with welcoming lots of new faces to our battalion as well as saying our final good-byes to those moving on to new things.
CPL Smith AKA “Jessie” SPC Robinson AKA “Eeyore”