|CHARIKAR, Afghanistan, March 5, 2007 -- Paratroopers that once spent their days making sure Humvees were ready for battle as mechanics at Fort Bragg, N.C., have exchanged their shop tools for M-4s and are now the driving force outside the wire as part of Task Force Gladius personal security detachment.
|"I trained with them and know what they can do, and they can do their jobs,"
Army Cpl. Timothy Cozelos
Mechanics, cooks, medics and other 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers accustomed to support roles are performing personal security detachment duties for VIPs as they develop relationships and plan future missions in the areas surrounding Bagram Airfield.
Our main mission is to secure the colonel when he travels outside Bagram, said Army Sgt. Kevin Chaplin, a mechanic serving with Task Force Gladius. We mainly look for IEDs and any hostile activity.
Chaplin said that although the area surrounding the airfield is pretty safe its a long way from fixing generators at Fort Bragg.
Its a lot different from what I was doing back home, but its a lot more exciting, and it gives me the opportunity to interact with the people and learn a new culture, said the native of Oakland, Calif. I feel prepared on missions because we received really good training from (special operations forces) before our deployment.
The platoon is predominantly made up of mechanics; however, there is also a cook and a medic. There are only three combat-arm paratroopers on the team.
I trained with them and know what they can do, and they can do their jobs, said Army Cpl. Timothy Cozelos, the lone infantryman with Task Force Gladius personal security detachment. We are all paratroopers.
The training received prior to their deployment dealt with weapons, security and convoy operations. They have spent the past seven months together training and carrying out missions, building a close bond.