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Afghan, Coalition Forces Deliver Toys in ‘Operation Bernice’

By Staff Sgt. Erin Tallman, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Dec. 20, 2007 – Afghan troops and local leaders and U.S. soldiers from the Kohe Safi Police Mentor Team handed out stuffed animals, blankets and coats to villagers in Angurdarrah and Gadaykhel on Dec. 18 in an operation named for an Army major’s childhood toy.

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Afghan security forces, along with Abdul Whaid Khan, Kohe Safi subgovernor, transfer stuffed animals from U.S. Humvees while Afghan children line up to receive a gift Dec. 18, 2007, in the Kohe Safi district of Afghanistan’s Parwan province. Photo by Staff Sgt. Erin Tallman, USAF
  

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

Army Maj. Jeremy McGuire, team leader of the Kohe Safi Police Mentor Team, recalled a stuffed animal that his aunt, Marcy Grace Kelley, gave him when he was 5. He named the toy Bernice.

So when Aunt Marcy donated 200 stuffed animals to hand out to Afghan children, McGuire named the mission to deliver the toys to two remote villages “Operation Bernice.”

“Operation Bernice, to me, shows how the coalition forces, the (Afghan National Police), government leaders of Kohe Safi, and people in the United States can work together … to help the people of Afghanistan, and demonstrate how the government is available to answer the people's grievances,” McGuire said.

McGuire and his team will make multiple visits with the people of Kohe Safi throughout the rest of December.

After New Year’s Day, Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team members will conduct a four-day medical engagement to northern Kohe Safi villages they visited during Operation Bernice.

The drop went well, and the presence of girls was a great sign, McGuire said. “Typically, in this area we have had a low female turnout for medical engagements. Operation Bernice gave us an insight that they may be very receptive to the medical engagement the Afghan government and doctors will be executing in January.”

(Air Force Staff Sgt. Erin Tallman is assigned to Combined Joint Task Force 82 Public Affairs.)

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Related Sites:
Combined Joint Task Force 82
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Click photo for screen-resolution imageChief of Police Mohammed Masoon Farzia hands out stuffed animals to children in the Kohe Safi district of Afghanistan’s Parwan province, Dec. 18, 2007. Photo by Staff Sgt. Erin Tallman, USAF  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAfghan security forces hand out blankets Dec. 18, 2007, during a humanitarian aid drop in the Kohe Safi district of Afghanistan’s Parwan province, Dec. 18, 2007. Photo by Staff Sgt. Erin Tallman, USAF  
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