Staff Sgt. Mathew B. Jaroslawski, team chief for Fire Control Team 4, 2nd Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, and native of Waterford, Mich., goes out on a patrol in Nad ‘Ali South, May 17. Jaroslawski is finishing up his second tour in the same area of operation. Photo by Cpl. Adam Leyendecker.
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Before every deployment, Marines are trained up on the area of operation they will perform their duties to prepare them for mission success.
However, Staff Sgt. Mathew B. Jaroslawski, team chief for Fire Control Team 3, Supporting Arms Liaison Team B, 2nd Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, was already fully aware of the area he would be deploying to, having been deployed there in 2009.
Jaroslawski, a native of Waterford, Mich., said when he was deployed to Nad ‘Ali South in 2009 the war was much different and the progress he has seen is comparable to night and day.
In 2009, Jaroslawski was deployed to Patrol Base Argyle. On one of his first patrols he was only supposed to be out for two hours. Because of a much stronger insurgent force back then, he said the patrol turned into a four-day trip due to engagements with the enemy.
“Back in 2009, we got into a firefight almost every other time we went outside the wire,” said Jaroslawski, who played football at Waterford Kettering High School. “The enemy was ten times stronger back then. It got to a point where you began to count your lucky stars.”
Now in 2011, Jaroslawski finds himself wrapping up a second deployment in the very same area he was before. Only this time things have changed.
“At first, when I found out I was coming here for a second time, I thought ‘Oh boy, here we go again,’” Jaroslawski said. “Now, I realize this place has become safer, and the freedom of movement is improved.”
Throughout the tour, Jaroslawski and his team still found themselves encountering improvised explosive devices and the occasional attack at their position.
Jaroslawski said the locals are much more receptive to the Marines this time around.
“People in 2009 were asking us when the Russians were going to leave,” Jaroslawski said. “Now, that we are less alien to them they understand we are here to help, and that if International Security Assistance Forces win the war then they will have a better way of life.”
The experience Jaroslawski had in Nad ‘Ali South the first time around also helped benefit the Marines around him.
“It is second-to-none to have a staff noncommissioned officer who already knew the area,” said Capt. Zach J. Lehman, officer in charge of Supporting Arms Liaison Team B, 2nd ANGLICO, and native of Cody, Wyo. “He knew ANGLICO, culture of area and tactics, which could be one of the biggest reasons for our success.”
During Jaroslawski’s second tour here he also made sure to pass his knowledge on to the younger Marines he worked with.
“He’s a great leader that takes pride in teaching us everything he knows,” said Lance Cpl. Arnold H. Cabral, a radio operator for FCT 3, SALT B, 2nd ANGLICO, and native of Modesto, Calif. “He’s a master of his craft, who could fix any situation you were in.”
With the help of Jaroslawski’s previous experiences in the area, the team was able to adapt quickly and come together throughout their deployment.
“Everybody on the team contributed,” Jaroslawski said. “We knew if we all came together we could learn something.”
I take a lot of pride in seeing the Marines do well,” he said. “Afghanistan is a growing experience, and you learn thing here you can’t go learn at a university or academy. Over here it’s all about that Marine to your left and right.”
Jaroslawski is now preparing to head home after a second tour to Nad ‘Ali South and fifth deployment overall.