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News > Task Force Griffon deploys to Afghanistan
Task Force Griffon deploys to Afghanistan
Army 1st Lt. Chris Villarreal, a native of Allen, Texas, trains key leader engagement tactics Feb. 10 with Afghan cultural experts during an advise and assist scenario exercise in preparation for the Task Force Griffon NATO training mission in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Antonia Greene, 174th Infantry Brigade/Released)
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Task Force Griffon deploys to Afghanistan

Posted 2/17/2012   Updated 2/17/2012 Email story   Print story


by Army Sgt. David Albert, Task Force Griffon and Army Capt. Antonia Greene
174th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs

2/17/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The 108th Training Command is scheduled to deploy more than 100 Soldiers from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst throughout February and March in support of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan.

Task Force Griffon, reminiscent of the 108th unit patch featuring a golden Griffon, is training here under the operational guidance of 72nd Field Artillery Brigade and the training mentorship of 174th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East.

Task Force Griffon is the second iteration of Army Reserve Soldiers mobilized in support of this NATO-led mission. Task Force Scorpion is comprised of more than 200 Reservists and mobilized, trained and deployed here last May. Task Force Scorpion's headquartered in Camp Eggers in Kabul is currently supporting NATO training operations throughout Afghanistan.

Army Reserve Soldiers from all over the U.S., with a wide range of job specialties and civilian backgrounds, assist in training the Afghan security forces. Army 1st Lt. Kelley Layman, a military police officer from Dousman, Wis., anticipates assignment as an advisor mentor for the Afghan security forces, specifically, helping implement gender integration training.

"I'm looking forward to working with the females and learning the dynamics of how gender integration and attitudes affect change," said Layman. "I'm learning a lot about the cultural situation and I anticipate communication being a challenge, but the training we've received thus far has definitely helped prepare us."

Interpersonal skills and cultural sensitivity are important traits for soldiers serving as trainer mentors, said Layman. She credited being stationed in Korea and having worked with an interpreter before as being helpful to the upcoming training mission.

Another task force member recognized how civilian education and past combat experience help prepare him for the road ahead.

"Based on my past experience being deployed to Iraq and drawing from my civilian job, I'm confident in advising, teaching and training," said Staff Sgt. Brian Murphy, a Reserve Drill Sergeant and Infantryman with 14 years of service and four deployments. "Just being able to adapt, listen, exercise patience and give good suggestions helps assist them and set them up for success." Murphy is a native of El Paso, Texas, and has his master's degree in psychology.

Specialist Robert Campbell, a chaplain's assistant heading on his first deployment, shared how his civilian occupation as a respiratory specialist and patient transporter in Gainesville, Fla., has taught him how to face challenges.

"With my medical and ministry background, I feel privileged to train another Army and help them become more proficient in basic soldier skills and other tasks," said Campbell.

Campbell volunteered for this mission and added that he is the sixth generation in his family to serve, dating back to the Spanish-American War.

Campbell credited the advanced language training and in-depth cultural awareness training during mobilization as key factors in preparing the unit for downrange. Several Afghan cultural experts and Soldiers from Fort Polk, La., augmented the 174th Infantry Brigade to enhance the scenario-driven cultural exercise. Conducting several days of face-to-face key leader engagements with immediate feedback is a mainstay of the training.

Task Force Griffon is scheduled to serve nine months in Afghanistan and return upon completion of the mission. Task Force Scorpion is expected to begin redeployment mid-March.

For more information on the task force mission, visit the official NTM-A website at

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