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NEWS | Aug. 8, 2012

Afghanistan: Georgia Guard members logistically running the Kabul Base Cluster behind the scenes

By Master Sgt. Janet J. Hill U.S. Army

KABUL, Afghanistan - Georgia National Guard members of the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, "Task Force Hydra," are in the trenches of the logistics world and have been running the cluster here, making the war fighter a better, more organized fighter.

Focused in the areas of resource management, human resources, public works, emergency services, information management, plans, training and mobilization and logistics for each of its eight camps within the Kabul Base Cluster, the Guard members ensure the smooth running operations behind the scenes.

Camp Black Horse is one TF Hydra Camp Support Group run under the leadership of TF Commander, Army Col. Andy Hall, which consists of seven Soldiers who are trained in multiple positions to rotate the many duties involved in running a camp with a small group.

As a coalition support base, Camp Black Horse serves over 300 Canadian Forces along U.S. Airmen and Marines with various Coalition Forces such as Croatians, French, Jordanian and Portuguese and provides mentorship to the Afghan National Army, as well as the Canadian Quick Reactionary Force.

The purpose of the CSG on Camp Black Horse is to make sure that meals are available in the dining facility, which on any given day serves around twenty one hundred people. They also oversee camp security which is manned by contract security personnel.

"Basically what we do is make sure that the camp functions. We make sure that we provide what you need to do your job," said Army Lt. Col. Kevin T. Daniels, the officer in charge of Camp Blackhorse.

"You can get up in the morning and have hot water, and lights. You have a meal in the [dining facility] and you can go out the gate, and when you come back in there is a hot lunch waiting on you, and in the evening time, we have a [morale, welfare, and recreation] set up for you.

"We have new pool tables, ping pong tables, movies, [videos games], everything we thought you needed just to get away from the everyday Monday dealings with the [Afghan National Army]," he said.

The daily operations consist of billeting, movement in and out of the camp, construction and helping the different coalition forces with identification badge issuing, medical, personnel accountability, and fuel.

"My biggest goal was to make sure everyone here understood that we are customer service because that is what [Base Operating Support-Integrator)] does," Daniels said. "We are out talking to guys saying ‘hey what's going on, what's this'."

Outside of its daily camp obligations the camp leadership participates in the Commanders Emergency Response Program which they have used to build schools and an over-bridge in the surrounding community so that local students will be safe when they have to cross the highway.

They are also responsible for providing support the interpreter village which is located out in the ANA area and has 123 interpreters.

"The footprint we are leaving here is everything we have done here inside Camp Blackhorse, which is about 16 different projects, and what we have done to modernize interpreter village and bring it on line," Daniels said.

Army Sgt. Ronneil A. Brown, the camps transportation noncommissioned officer, volunteered to be on the fire brigade and is the Deputy Chief. Brown had experience outside the military as a fire fighter.

"I love it, it's exciting. We were able to build the fire brigade from the ground up," Brown said.

"The fire department is one of our biggest successes out of our volunteer piece. We have the largest fire dept in this region. It's a combination of U.S., coalition, and contractors," Daniels said. "Those guys really took ownership. It's amazing to see all those different people come together for one common cause."

When it comes to making sure the camp is run properly and that everyone is take care of, the CSG goes beyond what is expected of them, "Something's we do because it's the right thing to do," he said.