IN AFGAHNISTAN: Task Force Guam Replacements Conduct Afghanistan Site Survey

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CAMP EGGERS, Afghanistan – Task Force Guam leaders welcomed part of their replacement command on Aug. 23-25, hosting a team from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

Members of the 82nd AB DIV, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, conducted a Pre-Deployment Site Survey (PDSS) with the Guam Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment leaders to familiarize incoming personnel about their Operation Enduring Freedom mission. The 2-508th is scheduled to replace Task Force Guam later this year. They utilized this meeting to become aware of challenges and issues Guam encountered, and what the 2-508th could expect.  

[Maj. David Santos Jr., left, operations officer for 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard, explains Task Force Guam’s Operation Enduring Freedom mission to Maj. Mike McDermott, operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Aug. 24 at Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan, during a Pre-Deployment Site Survey. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]

“The first thing we want to do is develop a good working relationship with Guam,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Zieseniss, 2-508th battalion commander. “We want to establish good communication to learn how Guam operates its mission. There’s no better way to do it than in person.”

The meeting is another chapter of Guam’s historic OEF mission. The Guam Guard succeeded an Alabama Army National Guard unit in April 2013. Several months from now it will be replaced by an active duty component, one of the most recognized in the U.S. Army’s history.

“Our purpose is to develop a better understanding of what our upcoming mission is,” added Zieseniss. “This is different than any of our three proceeding deployments. This mission is more complex, more dispersed than in the past. Task Force Guam presented this very, very well.” 

[Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, center, commander, Task Force Guam, and Command Sgt. Maj. Mel Hennegan, Task Force Guam command sergeant major, conduct a Pre-Deployment Site Survey with Lt. Col. Andrew Zieseniss, battalion commander, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Aug. 24 at Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan. Guam leaders provided information to the U.S. Army active duty officers who will succeed Guam later this year in its Operation Enduring Freedom mission. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]

The PDSS is a method where alternating leadership exchange critical information such as tactics, techniques and procedures. Leaders of the incoming unit receive vital information that they can use to modify their mission requirements.

“Our goal is to make things easier for you as much as possible,” Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, Task Force Guam commander, said during a briefing. “What you see here, take with a grain of salt. We’re sharing things we had to overcome and what works for us. We’re not here to overly influence. We’re just here to share what we have done.”

This will be the 2-508th’s fourth OEF mission since 2007, Zieseniss explained. 

[At left, Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Severino, regimental sergeant major for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, arrives at the Kabul International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 23 and meets Command Sgt. Maj. Mel Hennegan, command sergeant major of 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard. Severino is part of a 10-man team that met Task Force Guam leaders at Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan to discuss Guam’s Operation Enduring Freedom mission. The 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army’s heralded 82nd Airborne Division will assume Guam’s operation later this year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]

“This one is a lot more challenging being spread out,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Severino, regimental sergeant major, 4-82nd. “Previously we have performed our missions in one area, in one province. In this case, we’re spread out through the country. Guam has done an excellent job letting us know what our mission challenges are.”

As Task Force Guam progresses toward its own redeployment plan, they will meet more 2-508th personnel later this year, and officially hand over the OEF mission during a relief in place/transfer of authority (RIP/TOA) period.

Coincidentally, when a company-sized Guam Army Guard element supported OEF in 2008, Guam’s last Afghanistan mobilization, its replacement was also from the 82nd Airborne Division.  

  

[From left: Lt. Col. Andrew Zieseniss, battalion commander, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division; Command Sgt. Maj.  Brian Severino, regimental sergeant major for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division; Command Sgt. Maj. Mel Hennegan, command sergeant major of 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard; and 1st Sgt. Timothy Clark, also of the 508th, walk through the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 24 during a Pre-Deployment Site Survey between Task Force Guam and 4-82nd representatives. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]   

  

[Task Force Guam leaders escort Maj. Mike McDermott, center, operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 24. Task Force Guam and 508th representatives met to discuss Guam’s Operation Enduring Freedom mission, which the 508th will assume later this year. At right, Maj. David Santos Jr., operations officer for 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard; at left, Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, commander, Task Force Guam; behind Tougher is 1st Lt. Dustin Wiggins of Task Force Guam’s intelligence office. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]  

 

[Command Sgt. Maj. Manuel Blas, left, operations command sergeant major for 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard, meets Lt. Col. Andrew Zieseniss, battalion commander, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Aug. 23 at Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan during a Pre-Deployment Site Survey. Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, right, commander, Task Force Guam, introduces the pair. Representatives from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division met Task Force Guam leaders to discuss Guam’s Operation Enduring Freedom mission. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]