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Warriors Take Reins

Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Balad, Iraq
- The Soldiers of 1st Corps Support Command's force protection company, Task Force Warrior, took over responsibility for the security of LSA Anaconda from the 81st Brigade Combat Team Jan. 5.

Originally, the mission of the Task Force Warrior was to operate guard towers and to provide convoy security. Shortly after arriving in Balad, the mission changed designating Task Force Warrior as the quick reaction force.

The duties of the QRF Soldiers include responding to attacks to the installation, escorting explosive ordnance personnel to unexploded ordnance disposal, clearing traffic at the entry control points, conducting perimeter patrols and many other force protection duties as needed by the Joint Defense Operations Center.

The QRF Soldiers are all parachute riggers by trade.

"The biggest challenge is coming from being riggers to being attached to a Brigade Combat Team. We've moved from providing combat service support to conducting combat operations," said Capt. Kelly Cole, 1st COSCOM force protection and LSA Anaconda QRF commander.

The Soldiers must conduct preventive maintenance checks and services on the vehicles, weapons and other equipment daily and be ready to respond in as little as five minutes from notification.

"By active patrolling and by presence, we deter the enemy. That's all in cooperation with the [military police] and the guard towers," Cole said.

In addition, when the Soldiers are not pulling their various duties, they conduct training on whatever focus Cole designates for the week.

Cole said it's an honor for him and his Soldiers to have the job of defending and protecting everyone here.

"It's a good mission. We're doing a good thing, helping the people out here and making sure they get the rights they deserve," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Hanrahan, 2nd Platoon assistant platoon sergeant.

The QRF is now responsible for providing 24-hour security for the electoral ballots for the upcoming Iraqi elections. When the Soldiers were tasked with this mission, Cole put out a memo to the platoon leaders emphasizing the importance of this mission.

"The duty you now stand ready for is one of the most important parts of the free electoral ballot process that the country of Iraq will experience," Cole said. "In your charge is given the responsibility of protecting and safeguarding the very fabric of this year's election."

"To help the elections that are going to happen in the next two weeks is an honor," said Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Clark, 2nd Platoon leader. "Obviously they didn't want to give this mission to just anybody, so they gave it to the warriors - Task Force Warriors. I just hope the elections go well."

"The most rewarding part of this job is proving that combat service support Soldiers can overcome the stigma that follows us. People say that we don't ever do anything and that we let somebody else fight our battles for us," said 1st Sgt. John Seelhorst, QRF first sergeant. "Well, we're fighting now, and the greatest reward for me is watching my Soldiers do it." (By Spc. Leah R. Burton, 28th Public Affairs Detachment)
 

Release #050128a



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