Introduction A bright eyed and brand new “shit bag E-4” (as my First Sergeant would joke because of my college) SPC Thompson, fresh out of basic training, arrived in Italy to start my career as an Paratrooper. It wasn’t long before our unit Able Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne, found ourselves on the eve of yet another deployment. We had trained for months for an Iraq deployment and at the last minute we were slated to go to Afghanistan, in particular the Pech River Valley in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. Most my leadership was experienced in combat from their previous deployments, however their combat knowledge came from previous Iraq deployments, and their last deployment to Afghanistan Operation Enduring Freedom…show more content… Our squad consisted of 7 total Paratroopers, accompanied by a few of our 10th Mountain counterparts we made our way to the OP to conduct the relief in place. After a seemingly day long journey, we arrived to the OP, our home for the next 10 days. OP 2 was a small plot of land, approximately 75 meters in width by 50 meters long, surrounded by triple strand Constantina wire, three small structures (one made of stone the other wood and sand bags) and 5 Claymore Mines positioned up the mountain and covering areas of dead space. One of the structures served as a machine gun bunker and tactical operations command post with an M240B machine gun facing up the mountain and an M2 .50 Caliber machine gun facing across the valley. The other two served as sleeping areas for US forces, sleeping about 5 comfortably, and a small Afghanistan National Army (ANA) contingent of 4 to 5 soldiers.
The 10th Mountain squad was haggard looking and wore cut off Army Combat Uniform shorts, t-shirts, sandals, ball caps and those who could grow them, had beards. Our initial reaction was that this was a relaxed atmosphere and from what we gathered rarely made contact with the enemy. Our mission was to simply provide a site where we could relay radio communications throughout the valley should an element need help reaching our company command and provide an early warning and deterrent