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5 Incredible Firefight Photos From One Of Afghanistan’s Deadliest Provinces
In early 2011, the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne, was deployed to Afghanistan’s Kunar province during one of the deadliest years of the war.
Dubbed “No Slack Battalion,” the unit operated out of far-flung positions deep in Taliban-held territory. They were in regular, if not constant, contact with the enemy.
"Our enemy had grown too large, too bold, too capable to ignore any longer," said Lt. Col. Joel B. Vowell, the battalion’s commander in a Department of Defense news release. "Task Force No Slack met that challenge and we destroyed and killed over 130 insurgent fighters and wounded scores of others in our biggest battle since Vietnam."
Kunar province is home to the deadly Korengal valley, the subject of journalist Sebastian Junger's award winning documentary “Restrepo.” No fewer than five living Medal of Honor recipients emerged from battles in the province: Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer and the Army’s Sgt. Ryan M. Pitts, Capt. Florent A. Groberg, Capt. William D. Swenson, and Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta.
What follows are five incredible photos from a March 29, 2011 firefight during a multi-day operation in the valley of Barawala Kalay in Kunar province.
The images were captured by Army combat cameraman Pfc. Cameron Boyd and show infantrymen with “No Slack Battalion” and Afghan soldiers fending off a Taliban attack on an isolated hilltop outpost.
A soldier directs fire toward an enemy position. At the time this photo was taken, it marked the fifth day in a row that their position came under enemy attack.
A U.S. Army soldier From the 2/327th No Slack Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, points towards incoming fire during a fire fight with the Taliban in the valley of Barawala Kalet, Kunar province, Afghanistan, March 29, 2011.U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Cameron Boyd
A grimacing infantryman returns fire with his M249 squad automatic weapon. Food, water, and ammunition had to be flown in to the isolated outposts the soldiers operated out of.
Men take cover behind sandbags and rocks as they take fire from above, and one soldier takes aim with his rifle-mounted M203 grenade launcher.
An Afghan National Army soldier attached to the unit returns fire against the Taliban with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Relieved at the battle’s end, a soldier opens his mouth toward the sky to taste the snow as it falls.
Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.
"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.
Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.
Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.
KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.
Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.
Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.
On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.
This rifle could be a dark horse candidate for the Army's next-generation squad weapon — and you can snag one next year
The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.