Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

‘Gunfighters’ team with commandos

Soldiers from the Afghan National Army and 2nd Commando Regiment, Australian Special Operations Command, head to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter operated by 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, attached to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, after completing a mission in the Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, March 26.

Story and photos by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder

25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office

TARIN KOT, Afghanistan — During the past 11 years, U.S. and Australian soldiers formed a bond within the walls of Multi-national Base Tarin Kot, Afghanistan. In that time, they shared a mission: to disrupt insurgent operations in and around the Uruzgan province.

In January, Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, attached to 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Gunfighter, joined the mission in Tarin Kot, continuing the partnership with 2nd Commando Regiment, Australian Special Operations Command.

“The Australians are great partners to work with,” said Capt. Travis Galloway, fire support officer for 1st Bn., 2nd Avn. Reg. “They are highly trained and very professional soldiers. We have conducted air assaults for various missions and have removed enemy assets from the battlefield.”

Since the 1st Bn., 2nd Avn. Reg., from Fort Carson, began working with 2nd Commando Reg., the combined task force completed an average of 25 missions per month, provided security for patrol bases, conducted more than 50 special operations missions, and inserted more than 1,000 troops during air assault operations.

“Our partnership has enabled us to provide security extending from (Tarin Kot) to Bagram Air Field,” said an Australian Special Forces commando, who serves as a platoon commander in the 2nd Commando Reg. “‘Gunfighter’ support was critical to enable us to execute deep strike missions and direct action particularly deep into enemy held territory.”

U.S. and Australian troops have provided security and assistance during the transition of responsibility to the Afghan National Security forces.

The forces took the time to foster personal relationships at events. Recently, they attended the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day, a national day of remembrance to honor the members of the ANZAC, who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

During the event, the troops shared in food and festivities, including an obstacle course the participants had to overcome using remote controlled helicopters.

“The Americans beat us badly with the helicopters,” said the Australian captain. “The obstacle course helped them fine tune their piloting skills.”

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