Camp Phoenix, on the outskirts of Kabul, is home of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, which trains the Afghan National Army. Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix is a collection of Army National Guard units that are training the new Afghan national army.
With less than seven days in Afghanistan, soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. were busy at work at the newly erected Camp Phoenix, putting up tents, pulling guard and preparing to begin their main mission - training the Afghan National Army. While the troops scurried about the camp performing daily operations, the Kellogg, Brown and Root contractors were busy making sure that the soldiers had the resources they need to relax at the end of the day.
In early 2003 Camp Phoenix was nothing but a huge junkyard full of scrap metal left from an abandoned tractor trailer park. The OMC [Office of Military Cooperation] needed a large enough area to house up to 800 soldiers and they decided this would be the perfect location, leasing it from an Afghan trucking company for one year.
As soon as the approval was given, the US Army began their work of turning the junkyard into a military training camp. The camp is made up of two force provider kits that come with everything needed to set up operations in a field environment. Normally it takes about three to four weeks to have the whole kit set up, but the engineers here set up both ki s in about two weeks which is record time. By 15 May 2003 there was a dining facility, medic tent, showers, latrines and living quarters enough to house over 500 soldiers.
The camp's maximum capacity was quickly filled with more than 300 10th Mountain soldiers currently residing in the camp preparing to begin their mission. This camp was built to house the soldiers who will train the ANA. Once the training began, most soldiers remained here but some replaced Special Forces who were embedded with the Afghan trainees.
One advantage the 10th Mountain troops had was the presence of Brown and Root. The Brown and Root contractors were here on the ground setting up facilities for the soldiers from the moment 10th Mountain started to arrive. Thanks to Brown and Root, the troops had hot chow, hot showers and flush toilets from the first night they were here. There are certain camps that have been up for over a year that still don't have some of these amenities. The troops here are lucky. According to Brown and Root, they were working as fast as they can to implement Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities for the soldiers. They set up the MWR tent and were in the process of setting up the gym. Having all of these resources after only being here a week is basically the lap of luxury in a field environment.
Members of Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix began training and mentoring the Afghan National Army in June of 2003. This task force is comprised of National Guard, reserve and active duty soldiers from seven different countries. By February 2005, Task Force Phoenix had trained and deployed more than 17,000 ANA soldiers at five corps commands located in Kabul, Gardez, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, which also have permanent garrisons.
As of February 2005 the ANA had over 5,000 soldiers in training. This training was conducted at many sites, including the Kabul Military Training Center, Command and General Staff College, National Military Academy of Afghanistan and the new National Training Center north of Kabul. The ANA themselves are training all the new recruits in the basic training of soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers at KMTC. What's more, this month marks the first training cycle at CGSC taught by all Afghan instructors.
Four members of the U.S. House of Representatives visited Camp Phoenix in Kabul on Sunday October 12, 2007 as part of an official congressional visit to Afghanistan. The delegation was led by Congressman Steve Israel (NY 2nd District) from Long Island and included Congresswoman Shelly Berkley (NV 1st District) and two more New Yorkers, including Congressman Michael Arcuri (NY 24th District) from Utica and Congressman Thomas Reynolds (NY 26th District) from Williamsville. Congressman Israel serves on the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Arcuri serves on the House Rules and Transportation and Infrastructure committees and Congressman Reynolds serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. While the delegation did meet with Hamid Karzai and other government and military officials, their visit to Camp Phoenix was considered the highlight as most of the soldiers from the 27th Brigade Combat Team are native New Yorkers.
As of October, 2008 there have been seven iterations of Task Force Phoenix stationed at Camp Phoenix.
Task Force Phoenix I was launched by the U.S Army's 10th Mountain Division following the collapse of the Taliban regime. Every subsequent rotation has been comprised and lead primarily by Army National Guard commands.
Phoenix II built up the first Afghan Corps in Kabul, Afghanistan. Phoenix III took on the task of splitting that corps into five seperate corps and locating them throughout the country at strategic centers. Phoenix IV worked to build those corps to full strength. Phoenix V implemented an aggressive program of dispersing Embedded Training Teams with deployed ANA forces throughout the country.
The mission expanded under Phoenix VI with the added responsibility associated of training and supporting the Afghan National Police, as well as continuing to train and mentor the growing Afghan National Army.
Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII led by the New York National Guard's 27th Brigade Combat Team and was comprised primarily of 1700 National Guard Soldiers from New York and hundreds more from many other states. In addition, there are Active Duty Navy, Air Force and Marine personnel serving along with teams from coalition allies.
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