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Camp Joyce: Remote Fire Base Near Afghanistan-Pakistan Border (VIDEO)Tim King, in Afghanistan, for Salem-News.com
DISPATCHES FROM AFGHANISTAN
(KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan) - The War in Iraq may dominate the headlines but as Tim King tells us in this next report, soldiers at remote outposts in Afghanistan are seeing plenty of action. Soldiers there say Taliban forces are afforded plenty of vantage points near the Pakistan border.
Soldiers at an American combat base in the Kunar Providence of Afghanistan called Camp Joyce run a tight ship.
Only six Americans operate this facility as Embedded Training Team members. They train and fight with soldiers from the Afghan National Army and their base frequently comes under fire from Taliban forces.
"That snowcapped mountain there, we've been hit with 107 rockets from there," points out Major Fernando Rodriguez.
Major Fernando Rodriguez is the Commanding Officer of Camp Joyce. He works closely with ANA forces in coordinating the base mission, and he says it is not unusual for Taliban forces to use mortars as well as rockets when attacking their remote outpost.
"We've been here for five months, we've had many missions, you heard him say over 400 missions, we've had many contacts, all of the soldiers here have done a wonderful job."
Sgt. Maj. Kemp Freund, attached to the Oregon Guard, deals with the clash of cultures. Not only do the Americans and Afghans have to work together, but they also have to squash old ways left behind by a recent occupying army.
"We're trying to break the old Soviet methods that they use and the Soviet method had that Lt. Col. completely in the dark until he needed to move,” Sgt. Major Freund said. “We're still working with the higher echelons to get that to move downhill."
The damage that the Soviets dealt Afghanistan is still visible everywhere in the country, but backward ideologies left by the Russian communists are slowly beginning to fall into the background. That is happening in part because of people like Lt. Dan Hewerdine, who works closely each day with the Afghan Army.
Lt. Dan Hewerdine, also attached to the Oregon Guard, said, “I've got a good crew to work with. ANA, not only do we fight side by side, we're friends. I mean not only are we soldiers beside each other, not only have we been in combat with each other, we sit down and we drink chai together, we eat meals together, we watch movies together. We may be from a thousand miles away, but in our hearts we're the same people."
Tim King says, "This is a base that's frequently attacked at night, there's a good reason too, the Pakistan border is about two miles behind me."
Around 9:45 PM, American gunners laid into suspected Taliban positions.
Using two 240 machine guns and a 50 caliber, the soldiers lit up the night with tracer rounds hoping to silence Taliban activity which had been reported for the second consecutive day.
The Army team at Camp Joyce is on the verge of being replaced by a company of U.S. Marines. The base is named for Marine Lance Corporal Kevin Joyce who was killed here in June, 2005. Now his Marine brothers will carry on the good work of these dedicated soldiers.
Several of the soldiers interviewed in this report are serving with the Oregon Guard though they hail from other states. Most volunteered to join Oregon's 41st Combat Brigade so they could serve in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, Tim King, reporting for Salem-News.com
Tim King is embedded in Kabul, Afghanistan with the 41st Combat Brigade of the Oregon National Guard. See his stories several times a week here, on Salem-News.com, and on Portland’s KPTV Fox12.
__________________________________Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.
Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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