January 2010 to January 2011
On xx January 2010 the 20th Engineers arrived at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, under the command of Lt. Col. Peter Andrysiak. The battalion was flown from Fort Hood to Kyrgyzstan, then was moved into Afghanistan.
On 6 February 2010 the 20th Engineers, as Task Force Lumberjack, assumed the mission of route clearance throughout southern Afghanistan. The 20th Engineers are part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a component of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The task organization of Task Force Lumberjack in Afghanistan changes from time to time. Two engineer companies trained and deployed as part of the 20th Engineers at Fort Hood: the 510th Engineer Company (Route Clearance) and the 584th Engineer Company (Mobility Augmentation). Three company-sized elements were originally attached to Task Force Lumberjack in Afghanistan: Battery C, 5-3 Field Artillery, normally stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, and specially trained to augment Engineers for route clearance; the 562nd Engineer Company (Sapper), also from Fort Lewis; and the 630th Engineer Company (Route Clearance) from Fort Drum, New York. More recent attachments to Task Force Lumberjack include the 618th Engineer Company (Airborne) from Fort Bragg; the 806th Engineer Company (US Army Reserve) from Conway, Arkansas; and Company B, 40th Engineer Battalion from Baumholder, Germany.
Waiting to move from Kyrgyzstan into Afghanistan
Transfer of Authority ceremony--assuming the mission of route clearance
On 5 March 2010, Specialist Alan Dikcis of the 630th Engineer Company was killed when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle. The 630th Engineer Company, attached to the 20th Engineers from Fort Drum, had been actively participating in operations to push the Taliban out of the Marjah region of Afghanistan.
630th Engineer Company at Memorial Ceremony for Specialist Dikcis
Soldiers of the 562nd Engineer Company, Task Force Lumberjack, work on a small bridge over a canal West of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010. The unit is operating as part of an offensive against the Taliban in the Marjah area. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
Ceremony Awarding Combat Patch to 20th Engineers
Re-enlistment Ceremony at Kandahar Air Field
Commander's Conference - March 2010
New York Times article on combat operations of Task Force Lumberjack
Photo (Tim Winborne, Reuters) shows members of the 584th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, on patrol. Click the photo below to see the article.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Visits 20th Engineer Battalion
Four-star Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited the soldiers of Task Force Lumberjack at the end of March. He did so as a promise he made in November 2009, when he first visited the 20th Engineer Battalion at Fort Hood after the terrorist murder of Lumberjack soldiers. The admiral spent a lot of time with the soldiers, speaking with them, reenlisting several of them, and presenting awards and decorations. Click on either of the images below for more pictures of the visit.
4th Platoon, 510th Engineer Company on patrol. Pictured are the platoon leader, 1LT Mackey; and soldier named Metzger.
The remains of Specialist Christian M. Adams (Forward Support Company, 20th Engineer Battalion) arrive at Dover Air Force Base. SPC Adams died on 11 June 2010 from wounds associated with a noncombat-related incident.
Battalion Commander Update, June 2010: In a message from LTC Peter Andrysiak, the battalion commander, "Hello Family & Friends - We're at month five of the 20th Engineer Battalion's Afghanistan deployment; Task Force LUMBERJACK continues to make a positive impact in Afghanistan in support of Regional Command South. To date, the LUMBERJACKS have conducted 899 missions and cleared 58,881 kilometers of road over a period of 4705 hours. During these missions, the LUMBERJACKS have conducted 977 interrogations of potential IEDs, found and rendered safe 76 IEDs, detonated 57 IEDs and found 40 pieces of unexploded ordnance.
LUMBERJACK Soldiers recently injured while on patrol in Kandahar, PFC Allen and SGT Raines, 510th, have both been treated and have returned to duty; also injured on the same patrol were SFC Tysor and SGT Herron, 510th, both of whom were flown to Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany and are being treated for injuries. On a sad note, Spc. Christian M. Adams, 26, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., died June 11 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from a non-combat related incident. His funeral will be held at Fort Huachuca on Tuesday, June 22.
Thank you for your continued support of our the 20th Engineer Battalion and our family - Build & Fight!"
Mission Photos: TF Lumberjack employs a robot to investigate a possible IED. TF Lumberjack patrol arrives at an Afghan National Army outpost to coordinate mobility operations.
618th Engineer Company: The 618th Engineer Company (Airborne) is normally stationed as part of the 20th Engineer Brigade at Fort Bragg. In Afghanistan the 618th is based at Coalition Control Base Zabul Province, with pictures of the area shown below.
Death of Specialist Scott Andrews: In a message from LTC Peter Andrysiak, the battalion commander, "To our LUMBERJACK friends and family, it is with great sadness that we announce the death of SPC Scott Andrews, a member of the 618th Engineer Support Company (Airborne) attached to the 20th Engineer Battalion. SPC Andrews was killed by an IED strike while on a route clearance mission yesterday in Zabul Province. He was assigned to the 618th Engineer Support Company, 27th Engineer Battalion on October 2, 2008. He was constantly recognized by his peers and leaders for his motivation and knowledge. His family has been notified; please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. SPC Andrews will be missed by all.
618th Engineer Company (Airborne)
Death of 4 More Soldiers in 618th Engineer Company (Airborne): In a 17 July 2010 message from LTC Peter Andrysiak, the battalion commander, "On Wednesday [14 July 2010] Task Force LUMBERJACK lost four heroes from the 618th Engineer Support Company from Fort Bragg, NC. Please pray for their families as they endure through these troubling times. Also pray for SPC Adam Keys and his family as he continues to recover from his wounds. Their memorial ceremony was held today at FOB Lagman, we will post a memorial tribute in the near future." The fallen soldiers were
Memorial Ceremony for Soldiers from 618th Engineer Company
Transfer of Authority from 630th Engineer Co to 806th Engineer Co: TF Lumberjack reorganized in July 2010, as the 630th Engineer Company returned to Fort Drum. The 806th Engineer Company (USAR, Conway, Arkansas) replaced them. TF Lumberjack further grew with the arrival of the 618th Engineer Company (Fort Bragg) and Company B, 40th Engineer Battalion (Baumholder, Germany).
Death of 4 Soldiers in C Battery, 5-3 Field Artillery (Fort Lewis): In a 24 July 2010 message from LTC Peter Andrysiak, the battalion commander, "To our family and friends: It is with great regret that I inform you of the loss of 4 Soldiers from C 5/3 of Ft. Lewis. They died when their vehicle struck an IED while on patrol early this morning. A fifth Soldier, SPC Tim Martin from 510th [Engineer Company, Fort Hood], was injured, but is currently stable and receiving excellent care. Please keep the families of our fallen heroes in your prayers, as we also wish SPC Martin a speedy recovery." The fallen soldiers were
Memorial Ceremony for Soldiers from C Battery, 5-3 Field Artillery
Change of Command - 584th Engineer Company In the photo below, new company commander CPT Manzey receives the guidon from outgoing commander CPT Ingenloff.
Ramp Ceremony As deceased soldiers are loaded into an aircraft destined for Dover AFB, the battalion conducts a "Ramp Ceremony":
August 8th Update from Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Peter Andrysiak:
Hello Lumberjack Friends and Family -
It is official: Task Force Lumberjack has reached the midpoint of its tour in Afghanistan!
Half-way through the Task Force Lumberjack's rotation, the Lumberjacks have surpassed the positive performance measures produced by their predecessors, the 4th Engineer Battalion. To date, the Lumberjacks have conducted 1410 missions and cleared 95,489 kilometers of road over a period of 10,597 hours. Even though activity has picked up, the IED find rate continues to improve with a battalion average of 62%. In the most contentious area, the 510th maintains an unequaled 75% find rate.
The Forward Support Company (FSC) continues its outstanding work this month sending out multiple teams to do bar armor installs, interrogation arms and roller rebuilds. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) continues to facilitate the movement of personnel to and from Kandahar in addition to the critical task of training the incoming B/40 Engineer Company and preparing for upcoming combat operations. The 806th Clearance Company from Arkansas has taken over for the 630th in Helmand Province. Bravo Company, 40th Engineer Battalion from Germany, is currently fielding equipment and integrating with C/5-3 and the 510th.
To get a better understanding of the significant effort undertaken by the route clearance patrols to enable freedom of movement (for soldiers and supplies), an embedded photographer/reporter team traveled with the 510th Clearance Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, in July, and produced an outstanding article, "Full Frame: Clearing the Way" (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/afghanistan/100725/full-frame-clearing-the-way). The intensity of the Lumberjack's route clearance missions is captured in the article and photos.
Most importantly, please keep the following Soldiers and their families in your thoughts and prayers. We lost four outstanding Soldiers in mid-July from the 618th Engineer Support Company (the 618th is located in Zabul Province - see the attached "Chinook Flight from Kandahar East to Zabul Province" and "Coalition control Base Zabul Province"): SGT Zachary Fisher, SPC Chase Stanley, SPC Jesse Reed, and SPC Matthew Johnson. SPC Adam Keyes was injured in the event and is currently at a hospital in the Washington, DC, area. To give you an idea of how the Army honors its fallen in Afghanistan, two photos are attached from the "Ramp Ceremony" - the ceremony that honors fallen soldiers as they leave the theater of operations and are flown to Dover (see "Saluting Transfer Cases" and "Loading Transfer Cases in C17").
Thank you for your continued support of the 20th Engineer Battalion - Build & Fight!
Visits Task Force Lumberjack
The Combat Action Badge is awarded to a soldier performing duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized, who is personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement. It is the equivalent of the Combat Infantry Badge and features an M9 bayonet and M67 grenade.
Death of 2 Soldiers in 584th Engineer Company (Fort Hood): In a 26 September 2010 message from LTC Peter Andrysiak, the battalion commander, "Family & friends, it is with great sorrow that I must inform you of the loss of SGT Mark Simpson and SPC Scott Morrison of 584th. Our hearts go out their families, please keep them in your prayers. Two others were injured, SGT Daniel Krause & SPC Steven Heberlein, but are both doing well." The fallen soldiers were
Memorial Ceremony for Sgt. Simpson and Spec. Morrison, 584th Engineer Company
On 11 January 2011, Task Force Lumberjack stood down from its missions in Afghanistan and transferred authority to the 8th Engineers, a sister battalion from the 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Hood.
Elements of the 20th Engineers began redeploying from Afghanistan on 12 January. All movements were by aircraft, from Kandahar Air Base to Manas, Kyrgyzstan; there soldiers transferred from tactical transport to civilian airliners for the rest of the trip to Fort Hood, with a refueling stop in Bangor, Maine. There were three major groups: Part of the Headquarters Company and 584th Engineer Company ; the Forward Support Company and part of the 510th Engineer Company; and the rest of the 510th Engineer Company and the headquarters command element.
The 20th Engineers had earned yet another campaign streamer, Afghanistan Consolidation II.
The 5th Brigade is organized around the Stryker vehicle, a wheeled, armored fighting vehicle designed to be highly mobile. There are actually a series of Stryker vehicles, each specialized to execute a certain mission, such as an Infantry squad carrier, Engineer squad carrier, ambulance, etc.