Vermont NG soldiers find the bad guys

Soldiers from Troop A, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain)conducted an air assault and captured an important insurgent leader in amountain cave in Parwan Province June 30.

“Two platoons of Troop A Soldiers used vehicles to cordon the area where theinsurgent leader was suspected, and another platoon inserted into the area byhelicopter to conduct the assault,” said U.S. Army Capt. James J. Armstrong,commander Troop A 1-172nd Cavalry Squadron. The Soldiers tracked the target north as he fled from the village and into themountainous area.

“We trained to deal with the mountainous terrain and rehearsed pursuit and capture scenarios, so we were prepared to track him,” said Armstrong, a NorthFerrisburg, Vt., resident.
The assault platoon pursued the target for approximately two and halfkilometers into the mountains. At about 7400 feet, two Soldiers, Sgt. 1st ClassTodd E. Gagnon, an Alexandria, N.H., resident, and Spc. Chaz S. Shepard, aMontgomery, Vt., resident; spotted the target in a small cave where he was apprehended.

Gagnon, who was an instructor at the Army Mountain Warfare School at the EthanAllen Firing Range in Jericho, Vt., led the pursuit of the insurgent into themountains.

“It was physically difficult tracking him up the mountains because of theincline and loose soil, but my adrenaline was pumping so we just kept going,”said Shepard, who is a gunner for Troop A. “I followed Sergeant Gagnon, whomade it look easy to get up the mountain.”

Once they found the insurgent in the cave, he was cooperative with Afghan andCoalition Forces as they took him into custody.

U.S. Army Spc. Chaz S. Shepard, a gunner for TroopA, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team(Mountain) stands near a vehicle at Bagram Airfield July 13. Shepard, aMontgomery, Vt., resident, was part of the assault platoon that captured asuspected insurgent in a small mountain cave June 30 in Parwan Province. (Photoby U.S. Army Sgt. Charles P. Espie, Task Force Wolverine Public Affairs, 86thInfantry Brigade Combat Team [Mountain])

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