December 19, 2013

Afghanistan Notebook: Providing playgrounds for young Afghans

By Bill Nemitz

(Continued from page 1)

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Javed Ahmad, an Afghan native now living in Pakistan, shakes hands with Bravo Company commander Capt. Paul Bosse of Auburn after discussing plans by the Maine-based International Childhood Enrichment Program.

Bill Nemitz/Staff Columnist

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"We were pretty much at a clean slate," Cain said. "Nothing. We had to start fresh."

They've come a long way.

Within 24 hours of every major mission, a member of the COIST meets with the entire unit that went out and sifts through even the tiniest details of what the soldiers witnessed and experienced outside the wire.

That information, along with reams of other data gathered each day by the COIST, is then used to help Bravo Company's leadership plan future missions and better protect their personnel.

"What we came up with is that we've got to make each soldier a sensor," Cain said. "We've got to instill in them the importance of keeping their eyes open when they're on missions."

Which brings us back to the orange peels.

A Bravo Company soldier noticed them on the ground during a sweep of an area where an improvised explosive device attack just had been launched against an Afghan Border Police patrol.

Without going into sensitive detail, the small pile of peels helped the intelligence unit pinpoint the spot from where the attack was launched and the manner in which the insurgents targeted the Afghan Border Police vehicle.

Cain's mantra to the troops: "If you see something that looks like it's out of the normal, it probably is out of the normal. If it looks like it's not supposed to be there, it's probably not supposed to be there."

Other members of the COIST are Staff Sgt. Quentin Chapman of Auburn, Sgt. Frederick Moody of Gorham, Spc. Nate Allen of Portland and Spc. James Cline of Westbrook.

Moody, now on his fourth tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, spends most of his time accompanying Bravo's three platoons on their increasingly far-flung missions.

He wouldn't have it any other way.

"Nobody had to draw the short straw on that one," Moody said with a grin. "I jumped on that grenade myself." 

From Camp David to Dand Wa Patan -- this Marine gets around

Speaking of Spc. Cline, in his past military life, with the Marine Corps, he was a guard at Camp David during the presidency of Bill Clinton.

Cline, 39, also has worked as a police officer in New Hampshire and holds a degree in accounting.

During his high-profile hitch with the Marines, Cline said, he actually got to know Clinton pretty well.

“He was good guy,” Cline said. “I didn’t necessarily like his politics, but he was a good guy.”

Beyond that, it’s all classified.

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