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Tomahawks’ stay in Afghanistan comes to an end

2-23 Inf. completes six operations during nine-month deployment

102nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Published: 01:21PM July 25th, 2013

Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann

Lt. Col. Thomas M. Feltey and Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Lewis case the battalion colors in a transfer of authority ceremony July 13 at FOB Spin Boldak, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan — The 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment (Combined Task Force 2-23), from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, ended its tour in Afghanistan with a transfer of authority ceremony July 13 at FOB Spin Boldak.

The Tomahawks deployed as part of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and conducted missions in southern Afghanistan in support of Regional Command (South) and the International Security Assistance Force.

During their nine-month deployment the Tomahawks executed six named operations, fired 269 mortar rounds, killed or captured nine insurgents, retrograded more than $100 million of equipment and enabled more than 3,000 contact hours between Security Force Assistance Teams and Afghan National Security Forces.

“Our mission was to train, advise, assist and enable the Afghan National Security Forces,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Thomas M. Feltey, the commander of 2-23 Inf. “Let there be no doubt that we have tangible and irreversible gains in our area of operations on all fronts.”

“The relationships we have forged have created a sense of confidence among the Afghans allowing them to stand on their own,” Feltey said.

Ready to build on the relationships nurtured by the Tomahawks, the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment from Fort Knox, Ky., uncased its colors to signify taking control of the area and continuing the mission of supporting the local ANSF as they grow into full independence.

The ANSF in the Spin Boldak area have displayed a high level of independence and capability. The 1-6 FA Centaurs came trained and prepared to carry on the relationships that have proven critical in maintaining stability, said Lt. Col. Henry I. B. McNeilly, battalion commander.

“The majority of forces here are capable of doing things on their own and I think that’s fantastic,” McNeilly said. “The Tomahawks did a fantastic job before us of setting those conditions. We have to just get them to the next level where they can continue to perform that way.”

As 2-23 Inf. returns home after completing their mission, the Centaurs start a new chapter by continuing to assist the Afghans as they create a safe environment.