Back in April, Peter Haley and I spent a couple weeks in the care of the soldiers you see here during our embed in Southern Afghanistan. Back then, Capt. Brian Rieser’s cavalry troop was just getting into the busy season of a spring offensive by finding their first weapons caches and apprehending insurgents.
Peter and I got an unusual amount of feedback from stories we wrote about Rieser’s soldiers, especially this piece on the troop’s first engagement with an enemy bomb-making crew. The troop won that fight, and a number of readers dug Rieser’s “We own the night” remark.
He chain-smoked while he juggled a sprawling piece of territory that he estimated was triple the size of the land a cavalry troop like his would have controlled in the Iraq War. He also sought to build relationships with Afghan police and soldiers of varying capabilities.
The troop last week published this photo of Rieser and the troop’s first sergeant paying their respects to four soldiers who were killed by an Afghan ally Sept. 16 near the Zabul Province bases we featured in the spring. The three soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord were Sgt. Sapuro B. Nena, 25, of Honolulu, Hawaii; Pfc. Genaro Bedoy, 20, of Amarillo, Texas and Pfc. Jon R. Townsend, 19, of Claremore, Okla.
Thanks for taking care of us. Safe travels home. We’ll do our best with the stories of Nena, Bedoy and Townsend when Lewis-McChord honors their sacrifices.
For others following the 1-14 Cav, the unit is promoting a print by artist Jody Harmon to commemorate its Afghanistan deployment. You can preview it here.