1-4 Infantry's Afghanistan Mission to End
August 10, 2010
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment will end its long-running mission to Afghanistan at the end of the year, according to the Joint Multinational Training Command.
Company-sized units of the Hohenfels, Germany-based battalion have been working alongside Romanian troops in Zabul province since 2006. When Team Cherokee (Company C) leaves in September, it will be the battalion’s final deployment to Afghanistan, according to Maj. Bryan Hunt, the battalion operations officer.
“They will have enough time to conduct combat operations with the Romanian 812th (Infantry) Battalion, but a significant amount of their time will be getting things ready to transfer property and redeploy,” Hunt said.
The continual deployment of 1-4 soldiers is no longer necessary because of an increase in international forces in Zabul, Hunt said. For example, the Romanian military is adding another battalion and a brigade headquarters to Combined Task Force Zabul, and the Vilseck-based 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment also has deployed to the province.
“We are able to step back ... and come to Germany and fulfill our main mission providing Op For (opposing force) to the European forces,” Hunt said.
In Germany, 1-4 soldiers play the role of insurgents as they help train other units who are preparing for upcoming deployments. In recent years, 1-4 leaders have emphasized the benefit of their troops bringing back lessons learned in Afghanistan. “We might not have the rapid information like we had with six- to eight-month consecutive tours, but we still have the influx of people (with combat experience)… moving into the battalion,” Hunt said. “These guys are coming from units that have deployed and from different regions of Afghanistan other than just Zabul.”
The observer controllers who run pre-deployment exercises at Hohenfels also will embed with units in Afghanistan so that they stay up-to-date with the latest ground truth, Joint Multinational Readiness Center spokesman Maj. Nick Sternberg said.
And the unit will continue to provide pre-deployment training at the Cincu Training Center in Romania, according to an Army news release.
Mainly, the change of mission will give soldiers a chance to reset and return to their core roles, according to JMTC commander Brig. Gen. Steven L. Salazar.
“The ‘Warriors’ have accomplished their strategic purpose in Afghanistan, cementing a relationship vital to NATO and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) operations, a partnership to be maintained well into the future,” he said.
Twelve 1-4 soldiers have been killed in action during the more than four-year deploymnet.