203rd is on its way home; Plans are in the works for a welcome home ceremony

The Missouri Guard’s 203rd Engineer Battalion based out of Joplin is on it’s way home.

The 203rd left Joplin for Fort McCoy in Wisconsin on September 20, 2009, then headed to Afghanistan to clear bombs off of roadways.

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211th Engineer Company Returns from Afghanistan

The 113 Soldiers from the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 211th Engineer Company are scheduled to
return stateside today after spending a year in Afghanistan.

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Georgia Guard 810th Engineer Company (SAPPER) returns from Afghanistan

Ninety-six members of Swainsboro’s 810th Engineer (ENG) Company (SAPPER) of the Georgia Army National Guard are scheduled to return to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 5:55 p.m. following a year’s deployment to Afghanistan.

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Gates Sees 2-3 Years of Combat in Afghanistan

COMBAT OUTPOST SENJARAY, Afghanistan—Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he envisions two or three more years of combat operations in Afghanistan before the U.S. transitions to an advisory role, a mission likely to last years more.

Mr. Gates’s comments Friday at a military camp outside Kandahar were his most decisive to date on the war’s timeline. They came as he made a vigorous, public case that the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy would prove to be working by the time the Obama administration begins its next review of the war in December.

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WINDING DOWN: Combat Engineer Battalion Nears End of Deployment

By Sgt. Jon E. Dougherty
Public Affairs NCO
203rd Engineer Battalion

FOB SHARANA, Afghanistan – It happens at different times during a Soldier’s deployment. But eventually everyone begins to focus on one thought: the day when they will get to rotate “back to the world.” Back to loved ones and friends. Back to their homes and their regular lives.

For the 203rd Engineer Battalion, that day is drawing near. And a number of its members have had the chance to reflect on the job they’ve done, the mission they’ve fulfilled, and the duties and obligations they were asked to complete. During a series of recent missions the “Houn’ Dawgs,” as the 203rd is known, were winding down operations, even as a new group of citizen Soldiers who are tasked with replacing them are just beginning theirs.

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Afghan police hunt killers of Dr. Karen Woo

BBC News
8 August 2010

Police in Afghanistan are searching for a gang who shot dead British medical worker Dr Karen Woo, and nine colleagues in an ambush.

The Taliban said it carried out the attack, in the north-eastern province of Badakhshan.

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From WikiLeaks to the Killing Fields

Liberals contemplate withdrawal from Afghanistan, heedless of the consequences.

By BRET STEPHENS
July 27th, 2010
Wall Street Journal Opinion

Innocent civilians become the tragic casualties of war. Insurgents plant thousands of IEDs. Special-ops teams hunt down insurgents. The Taliban may have a few Stinger missiles. Pakistan plays a double game with the Taliban. The U.S. government can’t keep its secrets. The New York Times has about as much regard for those secrets as a British tabloid has for a starlet’s privacy. The Obama administration blames everything on Bush.

Is any of this news? Not exactly.

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GUARD ON THE GROUND: The Cost of Freedom

By Sgt. Jon E. Dougherty
Public Affairs NCO, 203rd Engineer Battalion
Missouri Army National Guard

FOB SHARANA, Afghanistan – For years, perhaps decades, after the last U.S. soldier leaves Afghanistan, military leaders and politicos, analysts and historians will spend countless hours attempting to calculate the cost of the war here in Afghanistan, in terms of blood and treasure measured against the gains achieved in our battle against deadly extremism.

What conclusions they will reach are, at this point, anyone’s guess. But for the men and women who have been deployed here the calculations have already begun, especially in terms of comrades killed or wounded in action.

For the 203rd Engineer Battalion, whose route clearance mission is among the most hazardous in theater, the costs may not have been higher than expected, given the unit’s primary mission of finding and disposing of improvised explosive devices. But it has certainly been higher than members wanted to pay.

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Announcement: Stars and Stripes: In Search of Heroes

By Dianna Cahn
Stars and Stripes
Published: June 14, 2010

Christmas Day 2004 marked the start of Capt. Brian Sayer’s yearlong dance with the hazards of war.

A sapper platoon leader in Iraq, he took shrapnel to his face, both arms and his femur and received pulmonary contusions from flying metal that sliced right through his body armor. In that one year, he earned four Purple Hearts and three Bronze Stars, one with a “V” for valor for staying in the line of fire to pull a driver out of his burning truck despite his own wounds.

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A Busy Day for the 211th RCP

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Pakistan and Afghanistan: interdependent, distrustful neighbours

The relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan is a lot more complex than described in the stories of ISI goons
Michael Semple
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 27 July 2010 11.15 BST

No one should be surprised that 180 of the leaked intelligence reports sound alarm bells about the involvement of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service in Afghan insurgency. Plenty such alarm bells have been sounded in the public domain already. But it is important that policymakers draw the right conclusions.

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A Simple Gesture

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    Born: 22 September 1964
    KIA: 14 May 2010 Logar Province, Afghanistan

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    Born: 1 January 1976
    KIA: 26 June 2010 Wardak Province, Afghanistan

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    KIA: 10 July 2010 Paktika Province, Afghanistan

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    DOW: 17 August 2010 Bethesda, Maryland