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Operation Rising Sun III rounds out company-sized operations for ANA, U.S. partners

Published: 01:43PM May 15th, 2013

U.S. Army

Soldiers of C "Chaos" Co., 1-38 Inf., Combined Task Force 4-2 and Weapons Company, 6th Kandak, 205th Afghan National Army provide perimeter security after exiting a CH-47 Chinook helicopter near the Kheybari Ghar ridgeline in the Panjwa'i District of Afghanistan as part of "Operation Rising Sun III" May 4.

COMBAT OUTPOST KHENJAKAK, Afghanistan — Following a four-day operation May 1 to 4, soldiers of C “Chaos” Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, Combined Task Force 4-2, and Weapons Company, 6th Kandak, 205th Afghan National Army completed their final company-sized operation of the unit’s nine-month deployment.

During “Operation Rising Sun III,” the joint team air assaulted near the Kheybari Ghar ridgeline in the Panjwa’i District of Afghanistan and traversed more than 32 kilometers of terrain while searching 82 Kuchi camps and 12 structures of interest, said Capt. Ralph Parlin, the C Co. commander.

At each camp, soldiers enrolled all adult males’ biometric data into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System databases, including the Automated Biometric Identification System using the Secure Electronic Enrollment Kit II. During the four-day operation, approximately 200 individuals were enrolled in AFIS and ABIS. Using the SEEK, the operator takes digital pictures of each of a person’s 10 fingerprints, his or her irises and facial images.

Once a person’s biometric data is enrolled in the system, the SEEK checks fingerprints and iris scans against watchlists and remote databases, according to the manufacturer’s website. This has helped the company detain wanted persons before, said Pfc. Andre Samson, who is one of the SEEK operators for his platoon.

“Biometrics is what’s winning the war right now,” Samson said. “Us being the type of people we are ... we all use technology and that’s what were relying on right now.”

Parlin said the soldiers who operate the SEEK are technologically savvy and usually are language enabled so they can communicate easier with the local Afghans.

“The fact they don’t speak English is hard, but you get used to it after a while,” said Samson. “You catch on to what they normally do and you roll on with it.”

Typically the SEEK operators are junior-enlisted soldiers who are between 19 and 24 years old. Samson has enrolled Afghans into the database who are nearly triple his age.

When individuals being enrolled are hesitant to let Samson do his job, he doesn’t take it personally, he said, because of all the good the company has done for the area.

“We changed a lot of stuff out there, which a lot of us are happy about, but then again, at the same time, a lot of us are happy to go home,” Samson said.

The operation isn’t the end of the partnership between the Afghans and C Co., said Parlin, but it was meant to be the last big step toward the ANA fully taking over operations in the area.

“It was really our last attempt to show and work with our partners through a company operation that was focused on ... allowing them to increase their security area as well as put pressure on the enemy network along seams and boundaries (to support) the brigade’s retrograde out of the west and as well as our future transition and retrograde out of Khenjakak,” Parlin said.