U.S. Army Sgt. Brian Ohler hands a case of water to a local boy while conducting a quality assurance check for a road project, members of PRT Farah stopped to render assistance to the villagers whose building had caught fire. (ISAF photo by USAF 1st Lt. Mark Graff)
FARAH, Afghanistan (August 9, 2011) — Members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah assisted villagers after their building caught fire during a mounted combat patrol in Pusht-e Rod District of Farah province, Aug. 2.
“Earlier in the mission we noticed some smoke on the horizon, but didn’t think much of it,” said U.S. Navy Lt. George Roland, PRT Farah engineer and the mission commander. “As we returned to base, we saw where that smoke was coming from.”
Though the fire was almost completely extinguished upon the convoy’s arrival, PRT Farah members elected to stop the convoy and render assistance.
“We were thinking, ‘if there are any injuries, we might be able to help out’,” said Army Staff Sgt. David Duhart, a PRT Farah Security Force member.
After dismounting from their MATVs, PRT Farah members spoke through an interpreter with villagers who had gathered around what remained of the structure.
“They [the villagers] were doing some welding when the machine caught fire and burned most of the front of the structure to the ground,” said Roland, who was one of the first PRT members to reach the scene. “We couldn’t do much to help, but I think they appreciated us stopping anyway. It’s just good practice to do that.”
Before leaving the area, PRT Farah members provided some bottled water to the villagers who had expended much of the water they had on hand while putting out the flames.
PRT Farah was conducting a quality assurance mission along Route 515 in Pusht-e Rod District when the event occurred.
PRT Farah, a joint unit comprised of service members from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force and civilians operates, from Forward Operating Base Farah, outside of Farah City, the provincial capital.
The PRT’s mission is to support economic development and effective governance at the district, municipal and provincial level in Farah Province in order to enhance the legitimate exercise of GIRoA authority and its ability to provide basic services to the people of Farah.