The commander of the Iowa National Guard soldiers on active duty in Afghanistan says they’ve already confronted the enemy in the short time they’ve been deployed, and so far have responded well. Colonel Ben Corell commands the second Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, and says Iowa soldiers helped the injured recently when a suicide bomber attacked an Afghan police station.
Corell says they fortunately have not had any significant injuries and have been concerned about “traumatic brain injuries.” He says the medical teams have been trained in how to diagnose, treat and monitor the injuries. Iowa soldiers Corell says Iowa soldiers have hit back when confronted while traveling the rugged terrain, and he says their training has paid off.
Corell says he prays every night that they continue to do everything right and follow through with the training they have had, but he says it is a dangerous place and there are challenges on a day-to-day basis. Corell commands some 28-hundred Iowa National Guard soldiers.
Many of the soldiers, like Corell, have served in Iraq where “improvised explosive devices” or I-E-D’s were a big problem. He says there’s a “different type of explosive materials on the menu here than we saw in Iraq.” Corell says the enemy “is ruthless, he’s evil and there’s no length that he won’t go to to try and harm coalition forces, or harm innocent Afghan citizens as well.”
Corell says the attacks won’t deter them from their mission. “We’ve got a job to do, we can’t let it stop what it is that we need to do,” Corell says as that’s what the enemy is after. He says they will continue to utilize their training and equipment to their advantage to mitigate I-E-D’s and every other tool the enemy has in his arsenal.
Corell says the conditions for soldiers vary depending on the area and size of base they are near. He says in some cases soldiers have to collect water and wash their clothes in five-gallon buckets, and have to burn the waste from their toilets. Corell made his comments on a conference call with reporters.