FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

COVER STORY: The Afghan National Army platoon that worked hand in hand with the Soldiers of COP Michigan proudly display their certificates of appreciation during their farewell party this month. The platoon did an outstanding job and are rotating back to Jalalabad for a well deserved break. Your Soldiers work shoulder to shoulder with the ANA to bring security and projects to all the villages in AO Dagger. During the party, the Soldiers of both nations shared some goat, took some pictures, and drank some Coca-Cola.

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

CPT EASTMAN
“DAGGER 6”

Families, friends and supporters of Dagger Company, Here at COP Michigan another month has passed and now we look toward Spring. We actually had one day of snow here, which was a welcomed change to our usual weather and a nice change of scenery in this ruggedly beautiful country. Your Soldiers have spent the last month patrolling the streets and mountains of our AO to check on projects, hold meetings with important tribal leaders, and help the poorest of the people here with clothing and blankets for the colder weather. Morale is high, and you get the feeling that Dagger Company has truly become a family over the last 9 months together. We share in each other’s successes and hardships and every Soldier, NCO and Officer is there to lend a hand during hard times or enjoy good news together. The support that each and every one of you has provided and will continue to provide has allowed this to happen. Your Soldiers have a great base of support. Be proud of this, as we are, and know that it truly makes the difference for your Soldiers here fighting the hard fight. With the deployment 3/4 complete, we still have a great deal of work to do and must work especially hard to ensure that the new unit is fully prepared to take over and continue the amazing projects your Soldiers started. To some, this will be the most difficult period in the deployment. Please let your Soldier know how much he means to you and allow him to stay focused on the mission. We are not done here until the last Dagger Company Soldier is safely back at Carson.
Thanks again for your support, Timothy Eastman CPT, IN Commander

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

SSG CORDERO
“DAGGER 95”

Dear family and friends of Dagger, 1SG Vaars is enjoying a well deserved R&R with his family. So I’m the designated hitter for the February FRG Newsletter. Our Company continues to move forward with more enthusiasm than ever before, because everybody is talking about the preparations and arrangements for our redeployment. Most of the soldiers are talking about what to pack and how to pack it. This month we continue to use the “Lethal Lounge.” The soldiers enjoy the down time and activities that is offers. It’s truly a stress reliever and removes them from the daily routine. Our Platoons continue their incredible success along the Pech River with more projects and help for those in need. The cold weather and rain has finally arrived to COP Michigan and surrounding areas and the soldiers have started to bundle up. In addition, outside activity have decrease due to the rain and snow. More and more we keep planning our return, so make sure that those who already have orders or assignments start planning with their loved ones, so the transition and relocation will be smooth as possible. Ensure you use the resources available to you through all the ARMY programs and if you have any question don’t hesitate to ask! We are here to help you out. Continue your incredible support of our Soldiers and make them feel like they are almost at home.

Nathaniel Cordero SSG, USA FSNCO (Acting 1SG)

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

1LT BURTON
“DAGGER 5”

All is well in the Kunar province as Dagger Company completes another month of deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom X. The month of February saw several promotions and awards being handed down to Headquarters Platoon members. Among them, PFC Bradley Donnels was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor for his actions back in June of last year. We would also like to welcome the newest additions to Headquarters Platoon, SPC Jerry Selby and SPC Nick Anderson. Headquarters Platoon members continue to make drastic improvements to COP Michigan. Sergeant Norman Pugh is spearheading a project with the local Afghan Army to construct a new joint Tactical Operations Center (TOC), the first of its type in the province. Several brick & mortar projects are currently underway in order to improve living conditions for Dagger Company Soldiers, to include new barracks and latrine. Our cooks continue to dish out the finest cuisine along the Pech, and the maintenance team is elbow-deep in upgrading COP Michigan’s generators. The rest of February will see Headquarters Platoon continuing to conduct combat operations, as well as initiate the pack-out process for redeployment. We want to thank all Dagger Company family and friends for their prayers and support.

Timothy Burton 1LT,USA Executive Officer

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

Another month has passed and just around 90 days until your husbands return into your arms. The month of February has flew by, despite the rain and the cold weather. But don’t worry, Staff Sergeant Thacker, SPC Estrada, SPC Nelson and PFC Williams have made sure that we are always warm and the generators that keep our lives as comfortable as possible are always up to par. Without these guys, life would be a lot worse. This month we have started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are still focused on our original mission, but we have also mixed in our own, “let’s get ready to get home,” adjustments in there. It is that time to figure out what to pack up and what to keep out. This is the time where we need you, our family, to also prepare for our return. Some of you have been thru this before and some of you haven’t. So, for those who have, please give any advice you can and lend a helping hand to the one’s who have not yet experienced the welcoming home process. Not a day goes by where we do not think of our return and getting back to a little family fun. We occupy ourselves by getting in the gym and maintaining our physical fitness. Some of your husbands have started taking college courses to prepare for life after the military, which is always encouraged. Others have began taking courses given by LT Zambarda, to improve their military education. To all the family, friends and supporters of Dagger Company, we cannot begin to thank you for your support these past nine months. You have without a doubt been the glue that hold our sanity together and give us something to look forward to at the end of each and everyday. Keep sending your packages, letters and cards as we will cherish these forever. We love you, miss you and cannot wait to get back to bugging you on a daily basis. Until next month…

SSG Starnes trains our ANA counterparts on their mortar system

The mortars making noise again

SSG Michael S. Starnes Jr. Mortar Section Sergeant SSG Cordero debating a snow angel

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our family members at home you are truly our support. Hard to believe it is already that time of the month send this news letter out. We are down to the last few Soldiers who still need to go on R&R. With that said our time is quickly coming to an end over here. Our platoon has been staying focused on the road in front of us and continues to drive on to the end. This month we were able to promote a couple of soldiers and add some new members to 1st Platoon’s big picture. First promotions, PFC Adams and PVT Jackura have been standing out among their peers as being outstanding soldiers, always motivated to do the right thing. So we would like to congratulate these two on their promotions to SPC and PV2. SGT and Mrs. Bandeen had a new baby boy Garret Bandeen. SGT Bandeen has been home taking care of the family and we look forward to getting him back from leave. We also bid farewell to SPC Troxell whose RTO talents were needed at Lethal TOC. February’s 1st Platoon Soldier of the Month is SGT Kyle Paszko. SGT Paszko, one of our engineers, has done an exceptional job. While SPC Adigwe was on leave volunteered to run our Husky with the Ground Penetrating Radar, the lead vehicle that looks for Improvised Explosive devices. He demonstrated his skill by visually spotting an IED on a critical main supply route for the 2-503 battalion. He has been instrumental in assisting the engineer and the infantry platoons to jell into one Lethal fighting force. We are proud of Kyle for exceeding the army standards which makes him February’s Soldier of the Month.

SFC Emmons, PFC Dodson and Saffi, our interpreter, draw names from a hat to win prizes

PV2 Jackura being promoted by SGT Ziemer…again

That is all for this month, please continue to support Dagger Company’s FRG for any information on the platoon between these newsletters.

Thank you, SFC Roger “Pa-Paw” Emmons 1st Platoon Sergeant

SSG Denning prepares for his runway appearance

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

Well here we are at the end of February already and it’s hard to believe that the time is still going by so quickly. It helps that this is a short month because we’ll take all the help we can get. This month 1LT Cumbie, PFC Davis, and SGT Dufresne are taking their R&R leave. With these three Soldiers gone our whole Platoon has now taken leave which is another sign of the time that has passed. We’ve had a lot of successful patrols recently and the biggest impact we’ve had is the VETCAP we conducted. A VETCAP involves a Agricultural Development Team with veterinarians and animal specialists that assess the local area’s animal population in order to help the people sustain their resources. There was a huge involvement with the local village and our Soldiers making it quite successful. We will be having a few promotions in the very near future and I don’t want to give the names away too early. This will give everyone something to look forward to in the next FRG Newsletter. On a more serious note I want to give all of the family members some advice for the last few months of deployment in order to be prepared for your loved one’s return. First is the mail deadline is fast approaching, we do not have a set date when mail should no longer be sent but as soon as we get that information we will pass it along. We have been very fortunate to have a very supportive FRG and family members back home sending us all the things we need, and some of the things we don’t but we set a deadline so our packages won’t overlap the unit that replaces us. Second is when we return many of us will be moving to new duty stations or getting out of the Army and it’s important to know the time to start making arrangements is fast approaching. I will be more than glad to give any advice I can to make the transitions as easy as possible. The last thing is we want to have a big platoon BBQ or get together to celebrate all of the good times we’ve had and to bid farewell to the guys who are leaving. I have volunteered my house but if anyone wants to do something different we’re open to suggestions. We want to have this before our 30 day block leave begins when the weather is nice and everyone is still together. Thank you all again for another month of support and we look forward to the last few months before redeployment SSG (P) Doug Middleton Platoon Sergeant

SPC Akerman happy to be on patrol…as usual

SGT Jones teaches SGT Williams a lesson

SPC Dequilla hard at work on his truck

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

Friends and Family of 3/DaggerEarly February in Afghanistan brings many cold, rainy days and a few days of sunshine, causing us to think that spring is just around the corner. Just as there have been changes in the weather, there have been some changes in our daily missions because of the weather restrictions and we have had to adapt accordingly. As we enter month nine, your loved ones are continuing to give 100% to the local Afghans and the demands of the mission. Their efforts are being noticed accordingly with the award of the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Everyone in the platoon has been awarded this well-deserved and coveted badge or is awaiting the paperwork to be approved. The ones’ waiting are our new Soldiers. They have proved to be a valuable addition to the platoon. We also recently promoted some Soldiers; PV2 Mader and PV2 Evans are now PFC’s as well as PFC Daft is now a SPC. They are already stepping up to their additional responsibilities. If you haven’t seen your Soldier for mid-tour leave yet, then it is just around the corner. As I write this letter we currently have one Soldier (SGT Klutenkamper) on leave and three (PFC Cofflin, SPC Diamante, SPC Price) waiting to get home for some needed and deserved rest. Please enjoy the short fifteen days that you will have with them as they go by very quickly. Even though our tempo hasn’t skipped a beat, we always tend to find time to take a knee. Recently they had a Super Bowl Party on the FOB and I know some of the Soldiers made the sacrifice of waking up at 3’oclock in the morning in order to watch the game, clearly it was worth the sleep deprivation. The other times that we have off we’re usually playing video games, watching the latest bootlegged movie, sleeping or spending time in the gym getting huge. Once again, I will emphasize the importance of mail. The arrival of care packages and mail has slowed down. It is expected as we near the end of the deployment, however, I urge you to continue to send items of endearment to your loved ones as it means more than words can explain! We can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, however we still have a job to complete and will give 100% until the day we leave.

Respectfully1LT Taylor C. Gillespie

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

First of all I’d like to introduce myself as 2LT Florent Groberg, the new Dagger 4th PLT platoon leader. I consider myself to be extremely lucky to inherit such a remarkable group of guys, and in my first month and half with the platoon I can honestly say that they really are the best at what they do. February was another successful month for our platoon. With everyone looking forward to our redeployment in a few months, the motivation and dedication to the mission was still at an all time high. This month we continued to win the hearts and minds of the local national civilians. We accomplish our mission by conducting quite a few key leader engagements with the elders in the local villages. We supported them by bringing blankets, tarp, school supplies, medical aid and radios to listen to our new radio station. The guys really had a positive outlook throughout and even joined in an arm wrestling competition, unfortunately SGT. Richardson couldn’t hold his own against a 12 year old local Afghani ( I think he let him win, but we won’t tell him that!) Every Tuesday morning the guys continued to train the Afghan National Police. The training ranged from base defense, weapons marksmanship, and traffic control points, to hand to hand combat and IED recognition. Our platoon understands that for us to be successful we need to set up the Afghan Army and Police for success, and that starts with training and respecting one another. But the fun didn’t stop there, back on our COP we held weekly barbeques where we played darts and even set up a corn hole game. Nonetheless the guys enjoyed their down time by watching movies, recording music, surfing the internet and of course getting a hold of a love one to tell them that they can’t wait to get home. We know that we only have a few months left here, but complacency is not an option to these guys, they want to complete the mission and get home safely to their families. We all hope that you are having a wonderful winter back home, we will see you soon, and keep sending those great care packages to us, from the mountains of Afghanistan, Dagger 4th PLT is out!

Florent Groberg 2LT, 4th Platoon Leader

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

February has come and gone, and we are now in the early stages of preparing ourselves for redeployment and the transfer of our AO to our incoming counterparts. Much time is spent planning for all the incredible logistics involved of moving all of the Soldiers from this Brigade back to Fort Carson, as well as ensuring that all of our hard work and effort is passed on. Collectively the Platoon is putting together a continuity book which provides detailed, essential information that will hopefully save those replacing us a great deal of effort in trying to figure out all the intricacies of this area. Since the last newsletter we also saw our first snowfall since being here in the Pech. Snowcaps have draped the landscape up in the mountains, much like you all see back in the U.S. near Fort Carson and around Pikes Peak, but for the first time snow fell down on the Valley floor. It provided a welcome change of scenery, and gave us the opportunity to deliver much needed winter supplies to villagers who had nothing to keep them warm. While all the Soldiers in the Platoon amaze me on a daily basis, after much deliberation I have chosen PV2 Stone as the Soldier of the Month. PV2 Stone came to the Platoon in late September, and serves as an Automatic Rifleman in 2nd Squad. Whether on mission or on the COP, PV2 Stone provides a great deal of motivation for all those around him. He has an uncanny ability to not only get the job done, but to look good doing it. His contributions go a long way to get us through tough times, and for these actions I grant him this honor. I thank you all again for your endless support. Leading your men is a distinct pleasure and privilege. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, SGT Ramirez gives a thumbs up…2 for the Afghan

PV2 Wheeler looks on providing security

Mark Zambarda, 1LT, PLATOON LEADER

Prepare to joust!!!

FRG NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2010

COP MICHIGAN, AFGHANISTAN

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