Military Notebook: March was a causality free month for US troops on Afghanistan

April 6, 2014 

For the first time since 2007, a month has gone by without a U.S. casualty in Afghanistan.

According to a story in the Air Force Times, the Pentagon reported there were no fatalities in March in Afghanistan. The last zero-fatality month was January 2007.

The casualties have declined as the number of U.S. troops there has shrunk, and those still there are shifting roles away from combat, including training and advising Afghan forces, according to the story.

Troop strength reached a peak of about 100,000 in 2011, and now that number is down to about 33,000, according to the Pentagon.

The Pentagon said there were 415 combat deaths in 2011, 313 in 2012 and 132 last year.

Robins unit wins Air Force award

The 78th Force Support Squadron at Robins Air Force Base has been named the best in the Air Force for personnel operations.

According to a news release, the unit was awarded the honor for operations in 2013. The unit is responsible for deployment processing of more than 5,000 military members. Its Installation Personnel Readiness Division accounts for more than 19,000 military personnel, civilians and contractors. It also is responsible for the Robins Honor Guard, which conducts military funerals throughout Georgia and part of Tennessee.

“To be recognized as the best of the best is a humbling honor,” Michael Szymanski, squadron director, said in the release. “The 78th FSS Operations Branch is usually behind the scenes supporting our deploying Airmen as well as the families of our deceased military members. We’re very proud of their exemplary accomplishments.”

5th Mob gets new ‘Giant Voice’ equipment

The 5th Combat Communications Group at Robins has added some new “Giant Voice” equipment to its arsenal.

The unit, known as the 5th Mob, sets up the equipment at bases in combat areas to quickly communicate alarms and sirens to troops.

According to a news release, the upgraded system will improve the safety of troops by improving the communication capability, including an expanded coverage area.

Also among the upgrades are solar panels that will trickle charge the batteries for the system. The systems have new software and hardware to allow for remote operation so messages can be sent at a moment’s notice.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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