Forging the Future by James Dietz
Limited edition fine art print on paper.
September 2011 heralded the arrival of the last combat brigade scheduled to conduct operations in Logar, Wardak and Bamyan provinces of Afghanistan. The 3d Brigade 1st Armored Division "Bulldogs" were charged with sustaining the momentum of past units while setting the conditions for follow on "advise and assist brigades" during this truly critical juncture in the future of the nation.
Task Force Bulldog would focus on setting conditions for the Afghan government to assume full security and governance responsibility. When the Bulldogs arrived, a quarter of Afghan population had seen transition take hold in their areas. This number would increase to 50% shortly thereafter and under the watchful eyes of the Bulldogs over 75% of the population in Logar, Wardak, Bamyan and Laghman Provinces would be secured by its own government, police and army.
Afghan military partners from the 203d Thunder Corps of the Afghan National Army as well as numerous police organizations partnered with the Bulldogs as they forged ahead to a brighter future. The brigade conducted 72 combined air assault and ground combat operations that removed numerous insurgent leaders and their subordinates from the battlefield and crippled the insurgent networks operating in the Bulldog Area of Responsibility. During this time Afghan National Security Forces took charge of forging their own future through participation in Non-Commissioned Officer academies and the assimilation of two additional Kandaks into the local security infrastructure. This activity allowed the Bulldogs to set conditions for follow on forces through the closure or transition of five security stations and observation posts. In addition to combat operations, over 100 projects were initiated in order to deny insurgent voices in the daily lives of rural Afghans through the application of economic development and linking people to their national government.
This print "Forging the Future" depicts the genesis of partnership between Task Force Bulldog and people of rural Afghanistan. A platoon from the Bulldog Brigade and its Afghan National Army partners conducts an initial meeting with the elders of a local village. It is from meetings such as these that the arduous process forging of a brighter future begins. The partnership forged between Task Force Bulldog and people are the enduring hallmarks of the mission. The government has stepped up to take the reins of power from an insurgency that is in disarray and clearly on the decline. Time will tell the story of the blood, sweat and tears left on the battlefields of Logar, Wardak, Bamyan and Laghman Provinces, but that story will be a tale of success. The success of the Bulldog Brigade is not about the individual but rather the collective team forged by partnership with people of Afghanistan. 21 Task Force Bulldog Soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice and it is their blood and that of the Soldiers who came before them that has made the future of Afghanistan one of hope and optimism. A future has been forged that includes Afghans dictating the terms of their own security in a democracy free of terrorist safe havens and unhindered by violence and intimidation.
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