28 April 2010

Vermont National Guard conducts historic air assault

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment, Vermont National Guard and the 203rd Afghan National Army Corps watch as the CH-47 Chinook helicopter that brought them to the village of Mengal Kheyl, Zormat district of Afghanistan’s Paktya province, lands at the completion of an air assault mission, April 22. The mission, which resulted in the capture of the district’s largest weapons cache in three years, was the first combat air assault mission in the history of the Vermont National Guard. U.S. Army photo.


PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A shocked group of insurgents looked up from the grounds of their supposed “safe house” in Mangal Kheyl village, Zormat district in Afghanistan’s Paktya province, to see a pair of twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook helicopters bearing down on them, April 22.

Working as part of the first combat air assault mission in the history of the Vermont National Guard, Soldiers from C Company, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment, alongside their Afghan partners watched from aboard the descending helicopters as the enemy dropped their weapons and fled.

“The enemy were completely surprised by our air assault,” said C Company spokesman U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Mark Fazio, from Co. C, 3-172nd INF. “As the aircraft landed we could see them drop their weapons and run away as fast as they could.”

The “cordon and search” mission was conducted in response to Soldiers from the 3-172nd INF and the Afghan National Army collecting intelligence centering around an insurgents’ safe-house and logistical staging point, Fazio said.

During the mission Soldiers captured the largest weapons cache in the district in three years, Fazio said. The company was also the first unit in the battalion to capture a foreign fighter.

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