Welcome home, 173rd Airborne: Company B's move meant more action
May 2, 2006
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Most of 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment called Afghanistan's Paktika province home during its stint in Afghanistan, but soldiers assigned to Company B soon landed in other territory.
Members of Company B were transferred a few months into the deployment to take on duties in the restive north of Kandahar province.
"We liked it," said Staff Sgt. Lucas Donahue of the unit's stint down south. "For the most part, we got to operate how we wanted to operate."
The company did more than switch provinces in Afghanistan. Its new area of responsibility was a lot more dangerous than it had been in Paktika.
"Definitely a lot more action," said Sgt. Anthony Rico, who has the battle scars to prove it.
Rico was shot in the hip during a firefight on Sept. 30. The battle claimed the life of another soldier in the company. Rico said it felt like getting hit with a sledgehammer.
"It was like some big dude wound up and hit you," he said.
He would be flown back to Kandahar Airfield, then to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. While Rico was recuperating, the rest of the company got to know its new territory.
Donahue, on his third tour in Afghanistan, said the company started to know the valleys it was patrolling very well. "The Legion" eventually learned where the ambush points were and where enemy forces liked to plant roadside bombs.
Pfc. Clinton Streagle and four others in his Humvee survived with only minor injuries when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb placed in a location that had previously been safe.
"We got our bells rung, but we were still able to pile out of the truck and head up the hill looking for who did it," Streagle said.
Another of the company's soldiers was killed in a similar attack.
Donahue said soldiers had to be alert while on patrol.
"I would definitely say we turned it on a little more," he said. "You knew there were enemies down there."
But Kandahar Airfield, the second-largest base in the country, provided a haven when the patrols were completed.
"You came into KAF and you could just relax and not worry about anything," Donahue said.
Streagle said it seemed like there was always a vehicle in need of attention for the next patrol, though. And it wasn't long before that patrol rolled along.