4TH SQUADRON, 4TH CAVALRY IN KANDAHAR
1st ID Troopers begin taking control in Afghanistan's most challenging Area of Operations
US Army 1st LT Joshua Fargason
4-4 CAV Public Affairs, 1st BCT, 1st ID
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (March 2011) – Troopers of the 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment arrived in southern Afghanistan at the beginning of March, ready to take over one of the most challenging areas in Operation Enduring Freedom. Within one month, they will be solely responsible for their area of the central Zhari region, the front line in the War on Terror.
Just two months ago, 4-4 CAV deployed to JRTC to train up with 2nd BCT, 1st Cavalry Division for an Operation New Dawn deployment as an Advise and Assist Brigade. While unpacking their gear for the beginning of STX lanes, the Squadron got a radically different task: within 45 days, deploy to southern Afghanistan as part of the 2011 surge.
About the sudden change, SGT Jonathan Brisson of 2nd Platoon, Bravo Troop had this to say: "No one was expecting [the change of mission] to happen, so we did a lot very quickly. I think it shows our unit is prepared enough to handle any changes rapidly." The day following the change, the Squadron Commander, LTC Michael Katona, and the staff returned to Fort Riley and planned the way ahead, laying on training to prepare the Soldiers in one month for a task for which most units train up to a year.
The 45-day window in which they were to train provided the Squadron a unique challenge in preparing for the deployment: "Due to the weather, we weren't able to do much," said SPC Cody Passmore of Bravo Troop's Headquarters section. Snow kept the range roads blocked and sub-zero temperatures either kept Soldiers away from work or strictly indoors. However, Passmore went on to say, "Coordination was good to get the troops trained. It seemed like training that had been on the schedule for weeks." The 4-4 CAV Soldiers stayed motivated through long days of hard training in the cold, living up to the 1st Infantry Division's motto, "No mission too difficult, no sacrifice too great—duty first."
4-4 CAV touched down at Kandahar Air Field at the beginning of March and has begun to take over operations in the central Zhari district of Afghanistan's Kandahar Province from 1-75 CAV of the 2nd BCT, 101st Airborne Division. For the way forward, LTC Katona had this to say: "We will continue the successes 2-101 ABN has had in Zhari District. We will do this through enabling the population at Shura sites, continuing the Cash for Work programs; by giving the people an option for a better life than the Taliban offers. We are looking at offering vocational and agricultural training to enable the population to more easily sustain themselves. We will also continue the targeted operations at the Taliban High Value Targets."
The troopers of 4-4 CAV have proven their agility and determination over the past two months. In the words of MG Vincent Brooks, "The Taliban had better watch out."