In Afghanistan, Guam Guard Soldiers Honored for Supporting ‘The Rule of Law’

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Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan – Guam Army National Guard members were recognized and awarded Army Achievement Medals earlier this month at Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan.

Members of Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, received the honors from Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Reinert, commander, NATO Rule of Law Field Support Mission and Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan (ROLFF-A).

The Guam Guardsmen assisted Reinert and his group on two different missions in September. 

[Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Reinert, far left, commander, NATO Rule of Law Field Support Mission, Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan, stands with first platoon, Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard, after Reinert rewarded the Guam Guardsmen with Army Achievement Medals Oct. 4 at Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan. The Soldiers stepped forward to assist Reinert and his group with two critical missions in September. Kneeling: Spc. Jesse Dela Cruz; 1st Lt. Matthew Rogers; Spc. Joseph A. Castro; Sgt. 1st Class Patrick J. Flores; Sgt. Joseph Camacho Jr.; Sgt. Mark Jason Garcia; Sgt. McMillan Kitalong; and Spc. Frankie J. Borja. Standing: Reinert, Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, commander, Task Force Guam; Capt. Joey San Nicolas, commander, Echo Company; Spc. Joe Mantanona; Spc. Jared A. Mellon; Staff Sgt. Ryan McIntosh; Spc. Keith Muna; Spc. Christopher J. Norrell; Spc. Jacob J. Olivas; Spc. Nathan M.W. Perez; Spc. Juan B. Pocaigue Jr.; Master Sgt Duane Perez; Command Sgt. Maj. Mel Hennegan, command sergeant major, Task Force Guam; and Command Sgt Maj. Paul Vallade, command sergeant major, RLFF-A. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt.Eddie Siguenza/Released]

“It was short notice, but Task Force Guam stepped forward to assist us,” Reinert said. “It’s important for us to keep in contact with our Afghan associates and our system is operating appropriately. The Guam Soldiers helped us with this important mission.”

Reinert awarded 18 Echo Company Soldiers with the AAMs.ROLFF-A consists of service members from all U.S. military branches. They work alongside military personnel from Afghanistan and Europe. Reinert’s group works with civil military law teams to promote the Afghan government’s judicial system. They create court houses and even advise where Tri-wall barriers should be placed, Reinert explained.

“It was short notice, but we took the mission. They wanted to go to our area of operation,” said Capt. Joey San Nicolas, Echo Company commander. “We know the area; we know what security measures need to be taken. We did this in a short amount of time. I think that was the biggest issue for them.”

[Spc. Jacob J. Olivas, right, a combat medic with Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard, receives an Army Achievement Award from Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Reinert, commander, NATO Rule of Law Field Support Mission, Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan, Oct. 3. Olivas was part of a team that assisted Reinert and his group with two critical missions in September. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]

The NATO Rule of Law Support Mission (NRLSM) also provides support to Afghanistan’s judicial system, Reinert explained, through the use of international civilian technical personnel, security and liaison sources. The NRLSM and ROLFF-A coexist under Reinert’s command but operate separately, he added.

“Task Force Guam ran us up to Parwan (Provincial Headquarters) and provided us excellent security so we can conduct our key leader engagements,” Reinert, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said. “That’s a critical mission for us.” 

[Sgt. Joseph M. Camacho, right, a medic noncommissioned officer with Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard, receives an Army Achievement Award from Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Reinert, commander, NATO Rule of Law Field Support Mission, Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan, Oct. 3. Camacho was part of a team that assisted Reinert and his group with two critical missions in September. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]

Reinert also said this was the first time he has worked with a Guam unit. He first met Soldiers from Guam more than 30 years ago during Reserve Officer Training Corps training at Fort Lewis, Wash.