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10th Mountain Division Soldiers Provide Quick Reaction Force

By Sgt. Greg Heath, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM, Afghanistan, Oct. 17, 2003 – Like firemen on duty at a firehouse, 10th Mountain Division infantry soldiers who make up Bagram's quick reaction force sit in their hut near the airfield, always ready to extinguish any problems coalition forces may have in the area.

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A quick reaction force squad practices handling suspected enemy forces during daily battle drills in Bagram, Afghanistan. Army photo by Sgt. Greg Heath
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Inside the modest hut are wall-to-wall bunks stacked three high and a living area for the soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, whose platoons perform 24-hour QRF duty on a rotational basis.

The QRF soldiers are prepared for a wide variety of combat related missions, and if Bagram or coalition soldiers were ever attacked, the QRF soldiers could gather their gear and be on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter ready to be flown into action in a very short period of time, according to 3rd Platoon Leader 1st Lt. Steven Helm.

"We can be called on for anything," said Team Leader Cpl. Sean Hurst, 3rd Platoon. "We're ready all the time for anything imaginable that could happen."

Even though the QRF soldiers are confined to a small area for days at a time, they maintain their edge by training on a daily basis.

"We have to keep training in order to not get complacent," said Helm. "It helps us stay in rhythm."

They draw from many resources to make their training as real as possible, using the live-fire ranges on and around Bagram, for example, including Bagram's newly built Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain site. They also use the area around their hut to rehearse different mission scenarios and perform battle drills.

"We don't sit around very much and just talk through things; we're all about getting up and doing them," said Hurst. "We train hard and long so when something does occur we can react on instinct."

Even though the soldiers may never have to fly out on a mission, the time they spend on the QRF assignment will be valuable to them in the long run, Hurst said.

"I get great satisfaction seeing our men get this kind of good training out of this environment," he said. "And if we were called on, I'm 100 percent confident that our platoon can accomplish any task at any time."

(Army Sgt. Greg Heath is assigned to the 4th Public Affairs Detachment.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageA quick reaction force squad dismounts from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during static load training in Bagram, Afghanistan. Army photo by Sgt. Greg Heath.  
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