Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Andrew Porch
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Decorative signs, tears of joy and cheering Family members welcomed Soldiers of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, as they entered the Special Events Center through a cloud of smoke, May 15.
About 400 Family members, friends and Soldiers attended the ceremony to witness the “Warhorse” Brigade uncase its colors, signifying the completion of a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The brigade headquarters and its six battalions, nearly 3,800 Soldiers, completed a wide array of missions, working to improve governance and security in and around Kandahar City, Afghanistan, in Regional Command South, and advising the Afghan National Security Forces in Regional Command West, said Lt. Col. Dana Stowell, executive officer, 2nd BCT.
“Advising the ANSF and increasing their capacity and capability was a key component of our mission,” said Stowell.
Serving in RC-West, a detachment of Soldiers from 2nd Special Troops Battalion and 1st Battalion, 67th Field Artillery Regiment, trained ANSF on patrols and proper security techniques.
With the main contingency of the Warhorse Brigade stationed in RC-South, the brigade’s mission centered on building and strengthening stability in the region.
During their yearlong deployment, Warhorse Soldiers helped build multiple police stations and solidify Afghan leadership that would maintain legitimate control of the population.
The brigade handled multiple missions at once, partnering with local leaders and village elders to ensure security in the region.
“The most important thing we did over there was stand up the police,” said Capt. Cole Pinheiro, brigade planner, 2nd BCT.
Working with Afghan villagers and local leaders at the tribal level, the brigade addressed decades of grievances between Afghan tribes and families, said Pinheiro, former commander of Company C, 1st Bn, 67th Armor Reg.
“They are allowing the governance to expand and reach out to some of the population that hasn’t been engaged in years,” Stowell said of the importance of working with the Afghan people.
Through this joint venture, Warhorse Soldiers fostered a partnership with the ANSF, Afghanistan National Police and local leaders, while continuing to work on the relationships created during the deployment.
The Soldiers of the Warhorse Brigade maintained good relations with the Afghan people, said Stowell, which proved to be a credit to the strong partnership built between coalition forces and their Afghan counterparts.
“We were an adaptive, learning organization that changed as the mission changed or the conditions changed,” said Stowell.
He said as the brigade continues to return to Fort Carson, and its remaining Soldiers prepare to leave Afghanistan throughout the month, Warhorse Soldiers can leave with their heads held high and the knowledge that they completed their mission with honor and pride — and walk through that cloud of smoke to the cheers and screams of their loved ones.