09 March 2008

Paratroopers patrol in Nuristan

Soldiers of 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, navigate their way through steep and rocky terrain during a presence patrol conducted March 1 in the Jamachgal-Khwar Valley, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.

173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs - The Soldiers of 3rd Squad conduct these patrols to put boots on ground in the hard-to-reach areas of the valleys and show the Afghans they are available for assistance.

“The purpose of these patrols is to keep the enemy off balance and provide FOB Bella with more security.” said Staff Sgt John Oftinoski, 26, of Middleton, Conn., a squad leader in 2nd Platoon.

By conducting the patrols in the valleys surrounding their FOB, the Soldiers of 3rd Squad are providing the base with more separation from the enemy and strengthening relationships with Afghans in the area.

“We like to make our presence known and let the locals know that we are not going anywhere and we are here to help,” said Spc. James Schmidt, 26, of Decatur, Ill., a gunner and radio-telephone operator for 3rd Squad.

Although the Soldiers of 3rd Squad did not see much activity during the day’s patrol, it helped them become more familiar with the area they will be protecting throughout the summer.

Meanwhile, 1st Platoon conducts patrols in Nangalam village.

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