524th CSSB sees end of OEF era with massive retrograde convoy

| October 26, 2013 | 0 Comments
Showing the colors and ready to roll,  a massive retrograde move from Kunduz Operating Bast to Camp Marmal in Mazar-i-Sharif prepares to move out with tons of cargo. This move was the last big convoy as the base shuts down. (Photo courtesy 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 45th Sust. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Showing the colors and ready to roll, a massive retrograde move from Kunduz Operating Bast to Camp Marmal in Mazar-i-Sharif prepares to move out with tons of cargo. This move was the last big convoy as the base shuts down. (Photo courtesy 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 45th Sust. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Capt. Jerry Garner
524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion
45th Sustainment Brigade
8th Theater Sustainment Command

KUNDUZ OPERATING BASE, Afghanistan — As coalition forces work feverishly to prepare for the 2014 withdrawal, Soldiers from the 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion made one last retrograde run to Kunduz.

This run was to be the cumulative event moving hundreds of trucks full of military equipment, fuel and supplies in and out of the north in a massive effort to close this key military base.

Reminiscent of the initial days of the Kunduz Operating Base, chow halls, tents and unit headquarters were nowhere to be seen. Soldiers slept their last night on the ground, strategically circled around their trucks in an attempt to get enough rest for the long-haul back to Camp Marmal in Mazar-i-Sharif.

Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan is under the command of the German military and Regional Command-North. The population of Kunduz district is roughly 775,000 with almost three-fourths of its citizens living in rural, outlying communities.

After 9/11, U.S. Special Forces began to work with the Northern Alliance to force the Taliban out of Northern Afghanistan. It was the last stand for the Taliban in the north, and the fight became known as the “Siege of Kunduz.”

Gen. Mohammed Daud Daud led the Northern Alliance from Mazar-i-Sharif (current day Regional Command Headquarters) through Taloqan and up to Kunduz.

Upon arrival, the Northern Alliance found itself in a heavy firefight. Daud decided to surround the city and allow American air support to bomb the Taliban in an attempt to weaken its positions. After 11 days of bombing, U.S. forces had destroyed 44 bunkers and 12 tanks.

Prior to 9/11, Pakistan had hundreds of advisers and fighters in Afghanistan to assist in the fight against the Northern Alliance. Pakistan used this time to evacuate several thousand fighters, later coined the “airlift of evil.” With the dissipated support of the foreign fighters and their deteriorated position, the Taliban surrendered Kunduz on Nov. 23, 2001.

After the fall of Kunduz, Northern Afghanistan was regarded as one of the safest areas in Afghanistan. Under the control of Regional Command-North, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops rarely encountered the Taliban. This fact earned Kunduz the German nickname “Bad Kunduz” or “Kunduz spa”.

Things changed in 2009. The three months between April and June resulted in more firefights than the previous seven years combined. By early 2010, U.S. forces began to flood into the Kunduz area. The U.S. and Germany increased troop levels to 6,000 in an effort to provide security in the Kunduz area. In January of 2010, Operation Wolf Pack commenced with the goal to establish outposts in the troublesome district.

In what was an end to an era, Germany transferred the base of Kunduz to Afghanistan’s security forces officially on Oct. 6. This transfer completed 10 years of German effort and dedication to combat in the Kunduz district.

Nearly 20,000 German troops cycled through the Kunduz base. Of Germany’s 35 combat-related deaths, 20 were a result of enemy activity in and around Kunduz.

The transfer ceremony was attended by the German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

“Nowhere else since World War II have more German soldiers died in combat. … (We) built, fought, cried and consoled, killed and fell here.”

 

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Deployed Forces, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *