Guam – Lt. Colonel Mike Tougher has returned from Afghanistan where he was deployed along with Guam’s 600 guard members. He gave PNC an interview about what it’s like in Afghanistan and he tells us that Guam’s men and women are among the best soldiers in the world and he was proud to serve alongside them.
“No place in Afghanistan is safe. There are safer areas but I wouldn’t say any place in Afghanistan was safe and because of that we always maintained a constant vigilance and we always ensured that our soldiers understood that there was no place for complacency,” said Lt. Col. Tougher.
Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Mike Tougher is back from Deployment to Afghanistan where he says Guam’s Guard members represented the island really well in their service to the country. He says Guam’s 600 guard members were spread all throughout Afghanistan “And it varies the living conditions the threat conditions in each of those areas is a little bit different, but in general they had generally good living conditions they were happy they were well taken care of and they had good food,” said Lt. Col. Tougher.
However, he notes that half of Guam’s soldiers were in Kabul. “Within Kabul quite a bit of activity and the threat level was relatively high just because of the congestion but the threat level was high throughout Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. Tougher.
The battalion commander says their mission was to act as a security force that was comprised of mounted elements and dismounted elements which means soldiers in vehicles or soldiers on foot providing security for various people including coalition forces, civilians and senior military personnel. A lot of this was comprised of transporting people via MRAPS or mine resistant vehicles to various places within Afghanistan. “They would move them using MRAPS or non-tactical vehicles where in most cases and in some cases would do dismounted security which we would call guardian angel mission where we provided soldiers to provide security for civilians conducting classes doing key leader engagements doing what we call ministerial advising or other type of advising so we provided security for those coalition personnel doing those functions,” said Lt. Col. Tougher.
The Battalion Commander says that Guam’s guard members were very good at this and they received a lot of accolades and recognition from senior military personnel and civilians alike. “Our soldiers never let their guard down. Engaged when they needed to engage and if they engaged in general [they were] able to extract themselves from that situation,” said Lt. Col. Tougher adding, “Overall our soldiers did exceptionally as usual. Soldiers from Guam, Chamorro soldiers other soldiers living on Guam from the CNMI for some reason, I wish I could explain it because if I could I would replicate it but we have extraordinary soldiers and those soldiers are well respected, have a great reputation throughout the army. Everytime we are given a mission, we perform exceptionally well and that’s not a credit to me, that’s not a credit to my company commanders, it’s not a credit necessarily to my NCO’s. It’s a credit to probably the culture of Guam and our families and our familial relationships and the importance that we place on that and the pride that we place in our families and our island. Our soldiers want to do well. They want to represent Guam and the CNMI, Saipan, Tinian, Rota well because they’re proud soldiers and they don’t want to let anybody down.”
Lt Col. Tougher says that on any mission or any deployment Guam’s soldiers always receive numberous accolades. During this last deployment he said that he heard on a daily basis what great soldiers Guam has.