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5RAR Afghanistan


Mentoring Task Force 2, Battle Group Tiger

Australian Infantryman's Combat Badge
An Infantry Platoon in Support of Mentor Based Operations
Map of Afghanistan

© LT David J. Neal, OC FPP CT-3 MTF-2

I am currently a platoon commander operating in Deh Rawud, Oruzgan province, Afghanistan. My platoon is labelled as the Force Protection Platoon and we are part of Combat Team Charlie (CT-C), Mentoring Task Force Two (MTF2). The platoon is a conventional structure with three sections and a platoon headquarters, and we have our own crew commanders and drivers for the Protective Mobility Vehicles (PMV’s) that we drive around our area of operations. Of course I also have forward observers, engineers and cavalry attached depending on the operation. To date the Force Protection Platoon has been involved in every major action by CT-C, from fighting patrols to battalion minus clearance tasks.

In certain cases the Force Protection Platoon has become deeply involved in the contacts normally initiated by our Afghan/Australian mentoring patrols; adopting the lead in assaults and the rear call sign in fighting withdrawals. The Force Protection Platoon has also been involved in a number of un-partnered missions. These have included: Quick Reaction Force tasks (QRF), detainee handling, convoy escort, and
patrol base security. As the QRF we have responded to short notice incidents such as Improvised Explosive Device (IED) finds, IED detonations against Afghan National Army (ANA) or Australian patrols, civilian casualty events, and damaged vehicle recovery.

Force Protection Platoon with their Bushmaster vehicles In addition to operating as a complete call sign, the platoon has encountered situations that have required it to detach sections from its structure so we could bolster the Australian presence within higher risk mentored patrols. At times it has not been uncommon for the platoon to be dispersed around the entire battlefield supporting a multitude of different tasks. On one occasion we had one section providing fire support to a patrol while another provided security to a sniper team - both elements separated by a number of kilometres as well as complex terrain.

Soldiers from Force Protection defending the extremities of a base rebuild

In conclusion, the Force Protection Platoon is playing an essential part in the conduct of mentoring operations in Deh Rawud and more broadly Uruzgan province. The platoon’s presence continues to act as an essential ‘enabler’ for mentored call signs that would otherwise have limited support in hostile areas, and we provide a reliable commander’s ‘reserve’ that allows for successful and safe missions within the Combat Team Charlie area of operations. We ensure that the soldiers of Charlie Company 5 RAR (the Deh Rawud Jackals) never fight alone.

5RAR Force Protection firing 84mm Karl Gustafs in support of a mentoring patrol