Final Security Force Two Patrol in Uruzgan
28 November 2013
Australian Airfield Defence Guards from Security Force Two completed their final ground defence area patrol in Uruzgan on 10 November.
The Royal Australian Air Force personnel handed-over their security responsibility for the area surrounding Multi National Base – Tarin Kot to soldiers from the United States Army’s 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, who form the Theatre Assistance Force.
As the International Security Assistance Force gradually reduces its permanent presence in Uruzgan the Theatre Assistance Force will provide a strong security presence during the crucial final stages of the mission.
Flight Lieutenant Ben Kurlyowicz, Officer in Charge, Security Force Two, said the Theatre Assistance Force reconnaissance elements have been in Tarin Kot since September researching the layout and background of their new area of responsibility.
“When the Theatre Assistance Force platoons arrived we were able to spend time with their soldiers at the section, platoon and company levels to explain the terrain then pass on our knowledge of the area and the local people before handing-over to them on the ground,” he said.
“One of the key parts of our hand-over was the relationships and rapport we had developed over the past years with the Afghan police check-point commanders and the civilian population.
“Our presence on the ground defence area patrols gives our forces a buffer zone around the base and also provides a deterrent to insurgent forces.”
Theatre Assistance Force Platoon Leader Second Lieutenant Jordan T. Dea, 1-8 Cavalry, said his force had already deployed to other areas across Afghanistan to provide security for coalition bases so units could complete their retrograde tasks unimpeded or affected by enemy activity.
“As the structure of our units vary to that of other nation’s forces we need to understand each other’s operating procedures,” he said.
“During the handover we conducted drills and rehearsals and meshed some of our tactics, techniques and procedures.
“We also conducted joint patrols to help us understand the Afghan National Security Force’s sphere of influence in the area and expand the buffer zone for the retrograde works.
“The locals told us that they understood the Afghan National Security Force was now responsible for their security and they trust them to do this.”
Flight Lieutenant Kurlyowicz said Security Force patrols incorporated the use of Australian Army Combat Engineers high risk searchers and Explosive Detection Dogs to search for Improvised Explosive Devices and weapons caches.
“As Airfield Defence Guards we don’t have our own engineers or work a lot with the RAAF Explosive Detection Dogs, so working with the Army Engineers was a good learning experience,” he said.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to use their subject matter expertise and apply it to our planning and the conduct of our patrols.”
Second Lieutenant Dea said it was the first time he had worked with Australian forces and it had been an extremely positive experience.
“There’s not a big difference between the way we operate on the ground and both units have the same key ways in which we provide security,” he said.
“We noticed the way the Australian section commanders interacted with the Afghan locals in a positive manner, while at the same time providing security which created a comfortable and unthreatening atmosphere.”
Flight Lieutenant Kurlyowicz said Air Force had seen a huge development of its airfield defence capability over the last 12 months.
“The Airfield Defence Guards, security police, soldiers and civilian detection dog handlers have all worked closely together during this deployment,” he said.
“This has created a model for how we should be protecting airfields in both Australian and on future expeditionary operations.”
Flight Lieutenant Kurlyowicz said he was proud of his team’s performance in Afghanistan, including the 15 Air Force Reservists.
“I was very impressed as they demonstrated a tremendous amount of self-discipline and a huge commitment to their task.
“There are certainly times when this role can be mundane or boring, but they remained switched on and alert, proving their worth by displaying the capability they can provide.”