Afghan Army Takes Charge at Border Outpost
By U.S. Army Capt. Peter Shinn
Task Force Bastogne
OBSERVATION POST MACE, Afghanistan, Dec. 22, 2010 The Afghan National Army took an important step toward taking responsibility for the nation’s security when it assumed control of this observation post from the U.S. Army on Dec. 20.
U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Lachapelle, C Troop, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, shares a smile and handshake with the Afghan National Army sergeant who will replace him on Observation Post Mace in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. The ANA assumed control of OP Mace from the U.S. Army on Dec. 20, 2010. U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Peter Shinn
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
OP Mace is the northernmost observation post in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, which borders Pakistan, and the first significant installation in the province for which ANA forces have assumed complete responsibility.
During a brief ceremony, soldiers of the U.S. Army’s Troop C, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, lowered the American flag at OP Mace and ANA soldiers from the 1st Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 201st Corps, raised the Afghan flag over the post. The ceremony took less than five minutes, but preparations for the transfer of authority took months.
Most of the Troop C soldiers arrived at OP Mace in early May, and immediately began training their ANA counterparts on patrolling, heavy weapons and combat medical skills, Army Capt. Mike Gansler, Troop C’s company commander, said.
Troop C also worked tirelessly to make OP Mace better and more defensible. They added concertina wire, built earthen walls and improved the facility, all while defending the post from attacks by anti-Afghan forces.
Gansler also praised the ANA soldiers and their leadership. “The ANA commander and his [noncommissioned officers] are doing the right things,” he said. “I know they can hold this position. These guys are straight.”
ANA Capt. Rohullah is company commander of 1st Coy, 1st Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 201st Corps. He also expressed confidence in the ability of his soldiers to defend and hold OP Mace.
“We’re 100 percent ready to take over this post,” Rohullah said. “We’re very satisfied with the weapons and equipment we have. We have the same weapons and vehicles that coalition forces have.”