COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE-10, TASK FORCE GAUNTLET
On 23January 2014, Headquarters and
Headquarters Battalion 10th Mountain
Battalion 101 Airborne Division. As LTC
Scott Noon from 101st AA said his
farewells and LTC Brian North from 10th
MTN DIV accepted the duty of Operation
Command-East, the transfer was smooth
and one of the best that OEF has seen.
Battalions had spent months training for
deployment to include tiring days on the
range and in the field in order to be
prepare for the fight. The professionalism
that was portrayed through the transfer
of authority ceremony not only displayed
dedication to the unit, but honor to our
country. Farewell Screaming Eagles,
~ Climb to Glory ~
10 Mountain Band
Things in Afghanistan are going very well for “The Spirit of the
Mountain”. Our Soldiers are enjoying a nice facility to rehearse and are
being able to focus mostly on music at this point. I'm very proud of all the
hard work that they have put in so far. Much of our preparation thus far
has been focused on 3 big ceremonies, two of which involved the Army
Chief of Staff, GEN Odierno. Any frustrations our Soldiers have faced they
have taken in stride and have found amazing ways to work around
obstacles for the time being.
Our team has been able to maintain steady contact with family back
home, which has been a great blessing. I know the communication helps
alleviate the stress of being away. Overcoming what can be a difficult time
difference; our families are adjusting their schedules to support their
Everyone here is excited about the band and recognizes the important and unique mission and talents that our Soldiers
have. I love sitting at a meeting, representing our Soldiers, announcing that I'm with the band and immediately a smile
appears on the face of the Sergeant Major or Lieutenant Colonel running the meeting. I’ve heard more than once here,
“We can’t do anything without the band.”
On the morning of February 7, we executed a small patching ceremony where I was honored to apply the 10 Mountain
Division patch to the right arm of our six Soldiers as a decoration symbolizing their personal courage and selfless
service in deploying to a combat zone with this historic Division. It was a simple, yet significant ceremony for our unit.
I know we have the right team at the right time. These are six of the most dedicated and multi-talented men I have had
the opportunity to work with, in and out of the Army. The outlook for this deployment is bright and we look forward to
the challenge and the success.
Spirit of the Mountain!
Climb to Glory!
On January 23, 2014, Army Musicians from two historic Divisions were able to do something that rarely happens
amongst active duty bands – they shared the stage.
That day on Bagram Airfield, the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion of the 10 Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
relieved the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion of the 101 Airborne Division (Air Assault). To capture the spirit
of the partnership and transition between these two highly decorated units, 3 musicians from each division to form a
single team to support this event.
From the 101 Division Band, SSG Michael Avant, trumpet, SGT Michael Lamb, trumpet, and SPC Joseph Morris,
baritone, joined 10 Mountain Division Band Soldiers SSG Luther Smalls, tenor saxophone, SSG Eric Jernigan, tuba,
and SGT Christopher Habeeb-Louks, percussion. Before the ceremony they played upbeat music to entertain the crowd
including featured improvisation solos from SGT Lamb and SSG Smalls in an arrangement of Herbie Hancock’s
Chameleon. They then changed their focus to executing the ceremonial music to the level of excellence expected of
Army Music programs and their respective divisions.
The group had only a few rehearsals to prepare. In fact, the 10 Mountain Division Soldiers had been in BAF for less
than a week when the ceremony took place. However, thanks to the professionalism and teamwork of both
organizations, the Music Performance Team was well-received by all in attendance.
It was a great day for the Army to see the “Rendezvous with Destiny” intersects with the “Climb to Glory” in a truly
musical and inspiring way.
HEADQUARTERS SUPPORT COMPANY
Team Highlander’s journey to Afghanistan started with a select group of Soldiers
leading the way. CH (CPT) Willenberg, 2LT Grierson (CO XO), MSG Steptore (PAO),
SSG Emery (S4 NCOIC), and SPC Meadors (HSC Supply NCOIC), to name a few,
proved to be the correct mix of Officer, NCO and junior leadership. CH Willenberg’s
spiritual guidance and emotional support set the stage for HHBN’s strong base of
stability in a combat environment. MSG Steptore learned in advance what it would
take for the 10th MTN DIV (LI) to ensure the continued cultivation of relationships within the Afghan
population. SSG Emery made certain assigned assets were available and at the ready for Team
Gauntlet’s arrival on Bagram Airfield. Finally, 2LT Grierson and SPC Meadors facilitated HSC’s
smooth transition by inventorying property in excess of 20 million dollar before the company
During Main Body 1 and 2’s travel, we experienced a lot of time for reflection. As our collective
thoughts moved within us, we all had one question, “How could we obtain mission success?” At
one of our first Battalion staff meetings, LTC North and CSM Charles echoed a military truism; no
plan survives first contact. I thought to myself, “Team Highlander has a plan.” We’ve been provided
training assets with coordination by the Battalion staff. We’ve been provided instruction by
seasoned professional NCOs and Officers. We have Soldiers motivated to give their best. We have
Soldiers agile enough to adjust and move towards the objective. We’re ready for the challenge and
we will succeed.
I’m truly impressed with the team we’ve deployed. The same is true of our extremely talented group
of Soldier who are at home on Fort Drum. We are one family and, in a time of need, I can call on
those who support us at home. Without reservation, I know they will hear the call and provide 100%
support. We are 6,550 miles away from Fort Drum and you at home are our foundation; our gratitude
is immeasurable. 1SG Brown and I thank you.
THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! FIRST SERGEANT’s BUSINESS
Greetings Highlander Team, I would like to thank all our Soldiers, Family Members and Civilian
Support elements for your time and efforts in making this transition to Afghanistan seamless. Like
many of you, I know the physical and emotional toll deployments can bring. I want you to know that
our Soldiers are trained and prepared to defend and support our nation in a variety of ways that will
bring credit upon themselves and our unit. HSC Soldiers have answered the call to duty and are
enthusiastic about the challenges that lay before them.
Our Soldiers are working alongside our joint services (Air Force, Marines and Navy) as well as many
foreign forces with the goal of assisting in the transfer of security responsibilities to the
Afghanistan Forces. Soldiers truly understand the legacy that will be left behind from their individual
efforts; as well as that of our unit.
Finally, I would like to reiterate that Soldier safety is our first priority but not forgetting about our
Soldiers and family members that eagerly await our safe return. We will "Finish the Fight", remain
resilient as we support our nation in its efforts in persevering the well-being of millions of people
throughout the world.
“My job is people -- Every One is My Business. I dedicate my time and energy to their needs; their
health, morale, discipline, and welfare. I grow in strength by strengthening my people. My job is
done in faith; my people build my faith” Unknown 1SG
HEADQUARTERS SUPPORT COMPANY
Lead the Way!
On 1 Feb 2014, SPC Nguyen was welcomed into the Corps
of the Noncommissioned Officer. He has earned the right to
be called “Sergeant”. Since arriving in Afghanistan SGT
Nguyen has exemplified the meaning of “adapt and
overcome”, by remaining flexible and adjusting to the needs
of the unit.
He deployed with the intentions of being a
liaison officer or LNO. A LNO is a person that liaises
between two organizations to communicate and coordinate
their activities. When it was determined that the unit had a greater need for SGT Nguyen, he was
selected to serve as the Billeting NCO for USAG-Bagram; his contributions will directly impact
Soldier and civilians morale throughout the Forward Operation Base. He has demonstrated the
potential to be a successful leader and will continue to excel in the service.SGT Nguyen says he
draws his inspiration from his wife and is honored and excited with the “charge” of leading and
caring for Soldiers
Patch on My Shoulder…
On 10 Feb HSC Leaders honored their Soldiers by conducting the
time honored tradition of being “patched”. The combat patch
signifies the unit’s active participation or support of ground combat
operations against hostile forces. They have been exposed to the
threat of enemy action or fire, either directly or indirectly. Although
we have many combat veterans within our ranks, the pride that is
felt by a leader who provides their Soldier with this distinguish
honor is unmatched. Many Soldiers see the combat patch as a
badge of honor, believing it complements them as a Soldier by
solidifying their actions taken in a combat environment. Soldiers
will wear the 10th MTN patch with pride as they are aware of the
sacrifices made by their predecessors and are encourage to blaze
trails for future Soldiers that will be given the honor of wearing the
patch of the 10th MTN.
Division Signal Company
Greetings from the Bigg Doggs!
Bigg Dogg Family.
The Bigg Doggs have made a name for themselves here
in Regional Command- East (RC-E). The transition from
101st to 10th Mountain was seamless! The hard work
and dedication of the Soldiers definitely paid off and the
DSC was able to take over the communications
infrastructure without any problems.
showed their technical expertise and quickly learned the
ins and outs of operations here in Afghanistan. Bigg
Hello from Bagram. We (your deployed Soldiers) have
arrived and taken over the mission here in RC -East.
The transition from our counterparts in the 101st went
very well, and our soldiers are managing the change in
The Soldiers are settling in well over here.
conditions and standards of living are good—there are
many amenities available for Soldiers to use, to include
internet cafes, morale events, and multiple gyms.
Additionally, we are working to provide more morale
resources for the Soldiers to continue to keep spirits
I want to extend my gratitude to all the families back in
the United States. Without your love and support, the
Soldiers of Division Signal Company would not be able
to excel. Throughout the stress of pre-deployment
training and the deployment itself, you have been there
for my Soldiers and I cannot thank you enough for that
I am proud of my team and all their
Their motivation and dedication
have made this transition into Afghanistan smooth.
Bigg Dogg 6
We are in hardened structures and the living here is not
as bad as could be expected. All of our billeting has
HOT running water and the Chow at any of the several
Dinning Facilities is excellent.
I am and you should be proud of all of the Bigg Doggs
in the way that they have conducted themselves during
the RIP. Now, it is our mission the provide the means
for the RC -East Commander to Mission Command his
elements on the Battlefield. A mission that is of the
upmost importance and that your soldiers will perform
admirably with the skill, effort and knowhow that make
them Bigg Doggs and Proud of It!!
I appreciate the sacrifice that you make every day in
supporting you Bigg Doggs as they Support and
Defend in honor of our Nation. Know that we are well,
and although we Love and miss you. We will continue
to march, Shoulder to Shoulder. Bigg Doggs
Bigg Dogg 7
Division Signal Company
Kweli Kush Kwaza was promoted
Joshua Edwards Polle was
Van Lewis Coon Jr. Reenlisted on
from PFC to SPC
promoted from SPC to SGT
13 Feb 2014, adding 6 years of
Lythell Broderick Lawson Reenlisted
Effective 1 Jan 2014
Effective 1 Feb 2014
service to his contract.
on 17 Feb 2014, adding 8 years of
service to his contract.
Division Signal Company
PFC Rashad Fox conducts the final check
on computers ready to join the network
SPC Lihanna Sukeforth and PFC Ian Duncan prioritize
trouble tickets before dispatching Soldiers to assist users.
Technical Support Soldiers Enable the “Voice of the Mountain”
As the 10 Mountain Division (Light Infantry) arrived in Afghanistan and transformed into Regional Command – East (RC-E), the signal
Soldiers of the Division’s Helpdesk team became Task Force Technical Support. During the first week at Bagram Airfield, the Technical Support
team of 16 Soldiers created over 1,500 new accounts and moved hundreds of files back and forth across the Atlantic to prepare for the arrival of
the Division staff and the return of the 101 Airborne Division (Air Assault) back to the states.
The Technical Support section not only supports the RC-E Headquarters, but also nearly all of the Soldiers and civilians in the Eastern
region of Afghanistan. The RC-E area of operations is as big as the state of New Jersey and has over 30,000 users and thousands of miles of
network cables. Augmenting the Division’s team at the Technical Support desk are five Soldiers from the 57 Signal Battalion who arrived in late
January. “They have been very easy to get along with and they learn fast,” said SPC Matthew McCain. “We wouldn’t be able to get things done
as quickly and efficiently without the 57 – the people we support would have to wait a lot longer.”
The Soldiers of the Technical Support section come from multiple different signal military occupational specialties (MOS). Cross-training
and skills development is a top priority for this team composed of Information Technology Specialists (MOS 25B), Cable Systems InstallerMaintainers (MOS 25L), Multichannel Transmission Systems Operator-Maintainers (MOS 25Q), and a Signal Support Systems Specialist (MOS
25U). PFC Kyra Studevan, the lone Signal Support Systems Specialist and new to the JAMO section, has been building her skill set since
arriving. “I’ve learned a lot of things including how to image computers and how to put computers on the domain. I’m still learning the process
every day,” she said.
Training and teamwork have produced great successes for the Technical Support section. With over 1,000 trouble tickets resolved since
taking over from the 101 Airborne, the team is on track to break their own record set during pre-deployment training for number of issues
resolved. “These Soldiers deployed with their scholar caps on and put their nose to the grindstone since day one.” said SFC(P) Adelbert Dunn,
the Technical Support Non-commissioned Officer in Charge. “They have been working non-stop to knock out trouble tickets while learning
everything they could from the 101 .”