455th ESFS Reapers push out insurgents, keep Bagram safe

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) — Most ser­vice mem­bers deployed to Afghanistan have heard the alarm blare over the giant voice sys­tem that sig­nals incom­ing indi­rect fire to the base.

 -
Staff Sgt. Steven Nace leads a secu­ri­ty patrol from the 455th Expe­di­tionary Secu­ri­ty Forces Squadron Feb. 10, 2012. The 455th ESFS “Reapers” con­duct 24-hour patrols to dis­rupt insur­gent activ­i­ties away from their base. The 455th ESFS is respon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing all activ­i­ties and free­dom of oper­a­tions for U.S. and coali­tion forces. Nace is assigned to the 121st Air Refu­el­ing Wing at Rick­en­backer Ohio Air Nation­al Guard Base in Colum­bus, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. DeNoris A. Mick­le)

While most peo­ple do their best to stay safe by tak­ing cov­er and wait­ing for the “all clear,” the Reapers gear up and head out­side the wire in search of those respon­si­ble for the attack.

The Reapers are a quick-response team made up of an elite group of Air­men from the 455th Expe­di­tionary Secu­ri­ty Forces Squadron here.

Not only do the Reapers respond to indi­rect fire attacks, but they also have teams that rotate shifts, trav­el­ing out­side the wire every day to per­form their duties and suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete their mis­sions. Twen­ty hours out of every day, there is at least one Reaper team on duty, work­ing tire­less­ly to enable air sor­ties through­out the area of oper­a­tion from the largest com­bat and logis­ti­cal hub and pro­vide sta­bil­i­ty with­in the Bagram dis­trict.

“The mis­sion of the quick-response team is to defend Bagram out­side the wire through ear­ly detec­tion, deter­rence, response, recon­nais­sance and counter insur­gency, or COIN,” said Mas­ter Sgt. Troy Tay­lor, the QRT NCO in charge. “(Because of the Reaper’s efforts) our teams have been suc­cess­ful in dis­rupt­ing the insur­gent sup­ply chain. We have also seen a sig­nif­i­cant change in the dis­tance and accu­ra­cy of ene­my indi­rect fire.”

In the past, insur­gents were capa­ble of fir­ing rock­ets to hit inside the wire or alarm­ing­ly close. With the help of the Reapers, the dis­tances they have to aim from are being pushed far­ther and far­ther away, reduc­ing their suc­cess rate of actu­al­ly hit­ting the base.

As a part of the COIN mis­sion, the Reaper teams vis­it numer­ous vil­lages with­in the Bagram dis­trict where they meet local elders and chil­dren. The goal is to build work­ing rela­tion­ships and let them know they are here to sup­port them and help keep them safe. COIN also includes pres­ence patrols in high-threat areas and key ter­rain denial.

“When we trav­el out­side to meet with the local Afghan peo­ple in the vil­lages, we want them to know that Amer­i­cans are good peo­ple and we want to help,” said Staff Sgt. Melis­sa McCam­mon, a 455th ESFS Reaper. “I think that it all starts with the chil­dren here. If we give them a good impres­sion of us as Amer­i­cans, we can plant that seed now and let it cul­ti­vate as they grow old­er; when they are adults they will remem­ber us as being kind and help­ful.”

Along with COIN, the teams’ mis­sion has numer­ous work­ing parts.

“The teams con­duct counter sur­face-to-air patrols along approach and depar­ture cor­ri­dors and obser­va­tion posts in sus­pect­ed areas of pos­si­ble insur­gent activ­i­ty,” Tay­lor explained. “These actions help ensure the ene­my has no free­dom of move­ment.

“To com­plete these mis­sions, Reaper teams are com­prised of dis­mount­ed patrol mem­bers and counter sniper teams,” the Colum­bus, Ohio native con­tin­ued. “They also have machine gun oper­a­tors and vehi­cle dri­vers to oper­ate the lat­est and great­est out­side-the-wire vehi­cles.”

With­in the 455th ESFS, there are sev­er­al sec­tions with sig­nif­i­cant respon­si­bil­i­ty, but there’s some­thing spe­cial about a Reaper Air­man.

“Hon­est­ly, (the Reapers) are an exten­sion of our broth­ers and sis­ters at Bagram,” Tay­lor said. “Our job is to deny, dis­rupt and dis­perse known insur­gents oper­at­ing with­in Bagram Dis­trict. The skills that are need­ed for our mis­sion our taught and under­stood by every mem­ber of the 455th ESFS. The one dif­fer­ence being, our teams are iso­lat­ed from BAF and there­fore need to be able to endure the fight as oth­er patrols assist in destroy­ing the ene­my before they reach the air­field.”

Source:
U.S. Air Force

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →