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NEWS | May 10, 2010

Maine Guard conducts its first ever air assault in Afghanistan

By Pfc. Christopher McKenna Combined Joint Task Force - 82 PAO

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan, - Afghan national security forces and Soldiers with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment of the Maine National Guard conducted their first ever combat air assault here in the Lalakeh village May 1.

The air assault was done in effort to disrupt insurgents' operations in the area.

"This was a historic day for the Maine Army National Guard," said Army Capt. Paul Bosse, commander of Company B, 3-172nd Infantry Regiment. "In conjunction with Afghan forces, we planned and executed the first combat air assault by a Maine National Guard unit."

A weapons cache was found and destroyed, and multiple arms dealers and insurgent militants were captured during the mission.

"We found out where [insurgent] forces were located and moved on them before they could respond or escape," Bosse said. "In doing so, we managed to capture and destroy a large amount of materials and weapons that could have been used against coalition forces and innocent Afghans."

Army Capt. Mark Steskal, 3-172nd spokesman, said, "The mission showed the ANSF's ability to take part in increasingly complex operations in defense of Afghanistan."

The planning for the operation was a combined effort between U.S. and Afghan forces.

"This proves to the [insurgents] that no matter where they are, they are not safe," Bosse said. "We can and will come after them and deny them safe haven, no matter how remote the location."