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Rough Rider Connection V O L U M E


 A Message from Cobra 6  Black Knight Spotlight  Assassins Provide Roadside Assistance  Headquarters and Headquarters Company Update  Charlie Company Christmas  Rough Rider Holiday Photos

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Greetings, Task Force Rough Rider Families and Friends! As we reflect on 2011 and look at all of the great accomplishments of the Rough Riders and Families, we give thanks to all of the love and support you have provided. From our travels to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk and field training for operational readiness to our deployment into Afghanistan and mission accomplishment, you have always been a source of strength allowing us to accomplish our mission and giving us hope of a warm and promising future. As for the dedication of your Rough Riders, know that they have displayed immaculate integrity since our arrival in theatre. During such events as the attack on Old Corps and Camp Nathan Smith, your Soldiers served with the utmost dignity and honor as they performed their duties impeccably while under duress. We, like you, take great pride in our Soldiers as they continue the honor and heritage that is the Spirit of the Rough Rider. We also offer our love and support to our Brothers and Sisters in arms who were injured in combat as well as their Families. And in our final reflections of the past, we offer a promise of remembrance to our fallen Heroes. You are with us always. Turning our focus to the job that lies ahead, there is still much to be done in 2012. We will forge the road ahead, pushing ourselves as we provide combat support to others. Our future is bright and we are making a difference in Afghanistan to provide a more stable and self-sufficient state that refuses the influence of those who wish to do us harm. In doing so, we make the world a safer place, support and defend the American way of life. We are strong; we are resilient; we are Rough Riders. To the Families and Friends at home, we thank you for your unwavering courage and strength. Your resolute understanding and support allow us to focus on the tasks at hand and perform our duties. On behalf of all the Rough Riders, thank you and we look forward to our safe return home. Happy New Year!


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CPT Ashlea Cleveland 1LT Betsy Arndt

CHANDA T. GAINES 1SG, USA First Sergeant


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







Black Knights’ Spotlight on Specialist Shaun Harney By Specialist Natasha Gaskins, Bravo Company Public Affairs Representative for four hand receipts. His hand re- where. He personally conducts mainceipts hold him accountable for Night tenance on over 130 NBC Protective Vision Goggles (NVGs), protective Masks and all weapons that are remasks, Nuclear Biological Chemical quired to be serviced at the Unit level. (NBC) masks, weapons, mounts, “I never really know what the next magazines, cleaning kits and anything day entails,“ says SPC Harney who else related to weapons. SPC Harney also executes missions with Bravo must also participate in Sensitive Item Company’s Personal Security DeInventories. The Sensitive Item Inven- tachment (PSD) when needed. He tories require direct and consistent has helped the BDOC with security communication with the Bravo Com- improvements. While missions may pany Commander, Captain Richard seem exciting, SPC Harney also enK AN D AH AR , Af g h a n i s t a n — Jones. If there is anything missing, it is joys picking up mail for the Company. Chemical Operations Specialist, SPC Harney’s responsibility to inform “I love picking up mail because it’s a 74D, SPC Shaun Harney has set the Bravo Company’s Supply Section of surprise every single time to see who prime example for lower enlisted Sol- the shortages and quantity that needs the letters and packages belong to, diers within Bravo Company. He has to be ordered. He is also responsible hopefully me,” laughs SPC Harney. exemplified the true meaning of be- for ensuring that all Soldiers’ weapons SPC Harney has depicted the true ing a “squared away” Soldier. SPC are fully functional and can be properly meaning of multitasking. Being deHarney is not only a 74D, he also maintained. ployed has instilled in him the ability While accountability and managing to complete any mission required at maintains and manages the weapons utilized by Bravo Company as the items on his hand receipts are im- short notice, while also perfecting his the Company’s Armament. SPC Har- portant, that is not the only thing that communication skills. SPC Harney is ney is also in charge of night opera- SPC Harney supervises as an Arma- always willing to lend a helping hand ment. He must also ensure that proper to his fellow battle buddies and is fast tions in the Command Post (CP). As Bravo Company’s Armorer, maintenance checks and services are tracking his way to becoming a great SPC Harney is the only lower completed to standard which may re- Non-Commissioned Officer in the enlisted Soldier who is responsible quire him to send the equipment else- Army.

Assassins Lend a Hand on the Road By Staff Sergeant Donald Apelo, Convoy Escort Team, Convoy Commander KANDAHAR, Afghanistan—On a cold night in Afghanistan, Alpha Company’s Convoy Escort Team (CET) was leading a convoy from FOB Walton to Daschtu delivering supplies to our counterparts at the Combat Outpost. While driving down one of the many unimproved roads here in Afghanistan, the lead gun truck commander, SGT Brandon Krzyaniak reported that there was a car that ran off into a ditch with two local Afghan citizens standing outside of the vehicle. SSG Donald Apelo, the convoy commander, thought of the worst possibilities: an ambush, a spotter trying to call ahead to his team or a Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device. Having traveled this torn up

road many times, it was out of the norm from what the convoy was used to seeing. The next thought was maybe it was a local in actual need of assistance and that this might be wonderful counterinsurgency (COIN) opportunity. If the convoy left this vehicle stuck in that ditch, how would that help our cause and what we are trying to do here in Afghanistan? SSG Apelo, SGT Krzyaniak and the interpreter met the Afghans at the vehicle. After introducing themselves, they informed the convoy they were police officers trying to get to their base which was a few miles down the road. SSG Apelo kindly asked to inspect their vehicle before they could help them. They were more than willing.

The Convoy Escort Team Recovery Team, CPL Huizar and SPC Norris, prepare the vehicle to pull it out of the ditch.

After the vehicle was safe, SSG Apelo called up the Bravo Company Recovery Team, CPL Cesar Huizar and SPC RobertNorris to come and pull the vehicle out of the ditch. After the vehicle was on level ground, we said our goodbyes and the local Afghan citizens expressed their deepest gratitude and said “we will never forget the kindness that you have showed us.”







Hellfire Update By Corporal Kristian Mangum, HHC Public Affairs Representative coming Soldier of the Month Board. The Section promoted Timothy Talford from Private First Class to the rank of Specialist on January 1, 2012.

Headquarters (PHQ). Not only are they holding down lines of communication, but they are also conducting training on Information Management Operations.

The S-4 Section….

Support Operations… Continuing to support Combined Task Force Warhorse in the realm of logistics including all classes of supply and transportation by ground and air.

“The same thing we do everyday Pinky….trying to take over the world.” ~Brain

Accounting for equipment in preparation for redeployment and planning the new force protection measures for FOB Walton. The Section is completing the plan for the FOB drainage system in preparation for the rainy season and installing a new well system.

The S-3 Section….

The S-6 Section….

The S-1 Section…. Completing the End of Tour Awards to ensure our Rough Riders are recognized for their service during deployment. The shop has begun the preparations for redeployment, getting together the standard redeployment packets and scheduling the battalion paperwork updates for 2012.

The S-2 Section….

Continuing normal operations in tracking convoys. Preparing their Soldiers for the up

Conducting split base operations from FOB Walton as well as at Kandahar Police

M4 Qualification Range This month Hellfire has worked on Countering Complacency by maintaining individual standards. The company recently completed weapons qualifications as well as a physical fitness test and weigh in.




Mayor Cell…. Maintaining quality of life for all Soldiers living on FOB Walton through management of facilities and services.



Charlie Company Christmas By SGT Katyuscka Deblanc, SPC James Ramirez and PV2 Aaron Cameron KANDAHAR, Afghanistan—The holidays are the time of year in which memories are made. It’s the time that we strive to rise above the daily grind of our day-to-day rituals and focus on the meaning of the celebration at hand. Christmas is no exception to the task. Past the commercials and business of preparations, it’s a time to focus on what we have and share our blessings with others; to give thanks and share the joy of those we love. To some, the traditions of this merry occasion is enjoyed over fine dinners, the Christmas party, the search for the perfect gift or dragging loved ones around from house to house visiting others. To some of us it’s a time to build memories of the smiles on families faces and the excitement of Christmas day. It’s not the rushing around or the gifts nor the meals (as divine as they are) it’s just being there and having your loved ones around. We are content as could be sitting at the kitchen table and talking with those that matter most to us. While on deployment the atmosphere is not quite the same. There’s no running around town (unless you can stretch your mind to envision convoys as such), late night shopping, visiting the in-laws for dinner. All we have is the daily tasks that have to be done. So we try our best to brighten our days by hanging ornaments, stringing up lights (that burn out because of the voltage) and, if we are lucky, finding a Christmas tree to trim as a reminder of the ones we love and miss. There was even a competition with ginger bread houses. CPT Jessica Maxim’s grandmother and some other folks were gracious enough to send us a few kits so that all the offices could put their hand to the task of making their very own gingerbread village. With candy canes, gum drops and marshmalAwesome gingerbread crealow snowmen. tion at Camp Nathan Smith. The meaning of this holiday is quite different when we are away from home. It is a time of mixed emotions, the sorrow of missing our families, but there is also the joy of knowing that they are in a safe place and that they are enjoying this festive time of year. We remind ourselves that love can travel long distances and loses none of its strength. Christmas is a time of joy and love. When we are away from those that care about us, we know that they miss us as well. Beautiful gingerbread creations at FOB Walton.

*Note—Photo not available of Brigade Medical Supply Office gingerbread displays

Reilly Kailash Ramotar Born January 6, 2012 6lbs 8ozs

Welcome New Cobras! Sebastian Izel Perez Born January 6, 2012 6lbs 11ozs






Rough Rider Connection Issue 20  

News, stories and information about the 204th BSB Rough Rider Soldiers