Force protection on Afghan election day
28 June 2014
It'S run-off day in the Afghan Presidential election but while everybody else is keeping a low profile around Kandahar, the personnel of the 205th Corps Coalition Advisory Team (205 CAT) Force Protection Platoon are busy at work.
The soldiers from 7 Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment and B Squadron, 3/4 Cavalry Regiment, both from Townsville, were on hand to support four days of around-the-clock operations by Australian advisors at Camp Hero from 12-16 June.
Section Commander, Corporal Mark Wilkinson said it was just another part of the team's role to provide guardian angel support and protected lift of personnel and advisors from Camp Baker to Camp Hero and other areas.
"The Afghan National Army’s 205th Corps has the lead for security across southern Afghanistan. The Afghan presidential run-off period required heightened protective measures." he said.
"Our 205 CAT advisors provided assistance to the 205th Corps Headquarters staff during constant operations around the election which in turn brought us into the fold with force protection and protected lift of our personnel and stakeholders.'
As part of Force Protection Element-1 (FPE-1) the men and their Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMV) started operations in January in support of 205 CAT.
Originally located at Forward Operating Base Lindsey, the platoon relocated to Camp Baker in early April to support operations as part of the remediation of Kandahar Airfield and ISAF retrograde plans.
The platoon provides support to Australian mentors at Camp Hero, enables battlefield circulation with protected lift in the Kandahar region, force protection at NATO bases for Key Leadership Engagement (KLE) and VIP convoy escort.
The platoon has certainly fulfilled their duties across the spectrum of seasonal weather and terrain. They have seen everything from the snow and sleet of the Afghan winter to the dusty and simmering heat of the summer where recently temperatures have risen above 50 degrees celsius while outside on task.
"Our mission is to enable force protection and KLE outside the bounds of Camp Hero and Kandahar Airfield for ISAF, Government and Afghan National Army (ANA) stakeholders.
"We are frequently conducting patrols in Kandahar City and along other high risk routes to support the movement of various advisors, Afghan key leaders and VIPs.
"Our ability to protect not only ourselves and the stakeholders we are charged with keeping safe, is critical to our ability to achieve our mission.
"The soldiers have consistently put in solid and professional efforts across the deployment," CPL Wilkinson said.
The 205 CAT is made up of 20 Australians, eight Americans, four Romanians and 40 Bulgarians, whose mission is to support independent operations conducted by the Afghan National Security Forces.
Personnel from the 205 CAT Force Protection Platoon and their colleagues at Camp Qargha will hand over Force Protection responsibilities to Townsville-based personnel from B Squadron, 3/4 Cavalry Regiment and 1 Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment in mid July 2014.