Talon Triumph by James Dietz
Task Force Talon Paratroopers with their Afghan National Army Partners maneuver against insurgents after their convoy is engaged in a far ambush following a key leader engagement with villagers in Wardak Province, Afghanistan. Our brave Paratroopers deliver accurate return fire to fix the enemy position, and establish a support by fire position with 60mm mortars to suppress with high explosive rounds in order to deny the weary enemy escape routes. The mountainous and canalizing terrain of Wardak favors the ambusher, a fact that the insurgents use to the best of their ability. Nevertheless, precise and efficient coordination with air and indirect fire support, superior leadership, individual fire control and personal discipline ensure that Task Force Talon maintains decisive advantage while protecting the population and the relationships so critical to success in Wardak Province.
During Operation Enduring Freedom X, spanning from December 2009 to November 2010, Task Force Talon was responsible for protecting the people, maintaining security, improving governance and assisting development in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province. The Battalion Task Force’s area of operations included the sprawling valleys, mountains, and green zones of vegetation along rivers of nine districts comprising Area of Operation Talon: Jalrez, 1st Beshoods, 2nd Beshoods, Nerkh, Maydan Shar, Chak, Daymardad, Jagatu, and Sayed Abad. Over that twelve month period, Talon Paratroopers were involved in 603 engagements with the enemy, fired over 3711 rounds of artillery and mortars, struck the enemy with multiple Hellfire and JDAM munitions, suffered over 70 wounded in action and lost three of our beloved comrades to the conflict.
Throughout the complex counter-insurgency fight, the Paratroopers of Task Force Talon remained focused on improving governance in close partnership with the Provincial and District government leaders, driving development through implementation of the People’s Development Fund, increasing development opportunities for the populace while adding a measure of government transparency never before experienced in Wardak. Task Force Talon’s efforts resulted in the expenditure of a dramatic $22 million that facilitated the execution of essential road, education, irrigation and agricultural projects that directly improved the lives of the people of Wardak. Task Force Talon also provided an added measure of security for the people of Wardak through partnered training, patrols, and operations with the Afghan National Army, Afghan Uniformed Police and Local Police Forces to develop and improve their capacity. The strides of the brave Paratroopers of this great Task Force, made through many months, and at such a significant cost in blood and personal sacrifice, left an indelible mark in the history of warfare and gave this area of Afghanistan a chance to enjoy a better future through a government that works for the people.
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