NEWS | Jan. 31, 2013

Afghan airmen lead mission to deliver school supplies

By Capt. Tristan Hinderliter , 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (January 29, 2013) — Afghan Air Force security troops with the Kandahar Air Wing led a mission to deliver supplies, including backpacks and soccer balls, to children here at a local school, Jan. 24.

Force protection personnel assigned to Kandahar Airfield headquarters and security forces Airmen with the 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group here provided logistical and security support for the mission.

“Today’s mission went really well,” said Master Sgt. Chad Roberts, a security forces adviser with the 738th AEAG who is deployed from Wright -Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The advisory group’s mission is to assess, train, mentor, equip and assist the Afghan air force.

There are approximately 500 students at the school, and the children are mostly age 12 and younger. The mission was one of many joint “presence patrols” carried out by Afghan and coalition forces.

“The Afghans security forces are much further along than I thought they’d be when I got here,” said Roberts, who is four months into a one-year tour. “I was expecting to go outside the wire on a patrol with them once every couple months, but we’re trying to do it once a week now.”

First Lt. Thomas Matechik, who is assigned to the airfield headquarters and deployed here from Minot AFB, N.D., coordinated the force protection support for the mission.

“This was a great opportunity to partner (Kandahar Airfield) force protection with the Afghan Air Wing security forces and their advisers, and to conduct a patrol that is beneficial to everyone,” Matechik said. “We’d like to use this mission as a stepping stone to do more partnering with them in the future.”

In addition to the Afghan air force security forces troops, four female U.S. Airmen helped hand out supplies to the female students.

“This was a really rewarding experience,” said Senior Airman Samantha Williams, deployed here from Schriever AFB, Colo. “Interacting with the Afghan children was one of the highlights of my deployment so far.”