KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - As OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopters flew overhead, it was up to Soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard's Company A, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne) and Afghan National Army personnel to provide outer security while members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunar's engineering section conducted quality assurance checks at the Shigal Girl's School.
Having the unit pulling security here and during other site visits and missions of PRT Kunar has translated to successful mission accomplishment for the PRT.
A key factor in the team's success has been meeting the tactical directives set forth by the International Security Assistance Force commander, said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Broyles, a platoon sergeant with the unit, adding that specifically using the appropriate amount of force to combat the enemy has been an area in which his unit has excelled.
"It comes right down to the scope of their duties and how they are conducting themselves, which has been exceptional," he said. "At no point have they been over-aggressive or under-aggressive, it's a very fine line that a Soldier has to walk, and our guys have done an extremely good job of walking that path."
The good work done by the security force element has been noted by the PRT leadership as well, as Navy Cmdr. Michael Yesunas, PRT Kunar commander, complimented them on their professionalism and military bearing.
"They have allowed us to safely continue our mission with confidence, poise and professionalism," he said. "They always use the amount of force necessary to take the fight to the enemy and protect the people of Afghanistan at the same time."
That professionalism is visible not only in the way the security forces conduct themselves, but in the way the engineers, agricultural specialists and civil affairs personnel, as well as key leaders within the PRT and local governance conduct their missions without fear thanks to the efforts of the soldiers, said Yesunas.
"The nature of the PRT mission is heavy with meetings with local leaders, and speaking to them and using what they're giving you to help them with a way forward with their country," he said. "When I'm in these meetings I can't concentrate on my security, but I have absolute confidence that we're safe and the guys outside are watching over us."
That's one less thing for Yesunas to worry about.
"I don't have to worry about if they'll do the right thing or not, I know they will, and they'll keep us all safe," said Yesunas. "I think we have the best platoon in Afghanistan, and I'd put our guys against any enemy, and I know they'd come out as good or better than anyone else."
The day at the school ended quietly, with the engineers conducting their assessment and heading back home without incident, but confident that if needed, the team's security element would be there to protect them.