APVG-TZD-HQ 3 May 2004


Update from Afghanistan

Aloha from Afghanistan! As I write this, Task Force Bobcat is still in the process of arriving in Afghanistan. Our last main body flight will close on Bagram Airfield (BAF) soon. Task Force Catamount, 2-87 Infantry, 10th Mountain Division (L), has done a superb job in posturing our Task Force for success. The advance party arrived in Bagram on the 24th and less than 18 hours later was forward in the province of Ghazni. Unit commanders and other leaders completed several missions in our area of operations as a major first step in the transition. To date, TF Catamount has been hugely successful and they have had a very positive impact on the lives of the Afghan people in Ghazni Province. I am fully confident that Task Force Bobcat will be equally successful. Our mission remains to deny sanctuary to the terrorists and to create the conditions for security, stability, and reconstruction in this war-torn land.

The living conditions right now in Ghazni are substantially better than what was reported from the pre-deployment site survey but are still austere when compared to the standards at Schofield Barracks. We share a compound with the Ghazni Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). LTC Ford, a Civil Affairs officer, is the current PRT commander. We enjoy a great relationship with his unit. We provide security throughout the area and the PRT provides reconstruction. The BN Headquarters (tactical operations center � TOC), A Battery, 1-62 ADA and a major portion of HHC will occupy this location for the immediate future. Companies, augmented by HHC Specialty platoons and other attachments will occupy Forward Operating Bases (FOB) in Ghazni Province. Living conditions at the FOBs is similar to the PRT location but on a smaller scale. Improvements to each area are planned and executed simultaneous to missions. Phone and internet connectivity recently became available inside the PRT compound. The service is free and limited to 15 minutes when there is a line. Companies will have frequent access as they come to the PRT compound for missions and maintenance.

Each element will live in tents and are provided 2 hot meals a day in a dining facility. Shower facilities have just been completed in all locations and soldiers will get a shower about every third day depending on missions. Laundry facilities are planned but for now we use the wash-tub-by-hand method. The battalion will run a small PX operation on our own. Each FOB has weights available and small Morale, Welfare, and Recreation tents with TVs, video games, and limited DVDs. With the small bandwidth and limited computers and phones please be patient. 

All soldiers in Task Force Bobcat will be working hard, 7 days a week and up to 16-20 hours per day.  Be proud of them.  I am confident in their abilities. Their determination, dedication, courage, and their character is simply amazing. We will succeed in our assigned missions in the Global War on Terrorism � Operation Enduring Freedom. TF Bobcat will make a real difference every day here in Afghanistan and in our security at home. 

Lastly, keep the mail coming!  It is a highlight in every soldier�s day when he or she receives mail from home.  I would also like to thank you all for your support and encouragement.  You are a great strength to everyone here, and we deeply appreciate all you do on our behalf.  God bless.

Aloha and Ahui Hou!,