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The agile, adaptive 504th Military Police Battalion, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, continued to add chapters to its legacy by being ready to accomplish any mission during combat operations associated with Operation Enduring Freedom 10-11. The efforts of the battalion from June 2010 to June 2011 significantly contributed to the downward spiral of Taliban influence in Kandahar City, Afghanistan, thereby paving the way for Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to take the lead in providing security for the local populace. The 504th Military Police Battalion was task-organized with the 170th Military Police Company, Joint Base Lewis-McChord; the 202d Military Police Company, Fort Bliss, Texas; the 372d Military Police Company, Cresaptown, Maryland; the 511th Military Police Company, Fort Drum, New York; and the 552d Military Police Company, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, to form Task Force Dragon Fighter.
Surging Into Kandahar
In June 2010, the Soldiers of the 504th Military Police Battalion had their "boots on the ground" in Afghanistan and were ready to support surge operations in the volatile southern region of Kandahar. The battalion was initially assigned to the Canadian-led Task Force Kandahar, and they conducted successful relief-in-place and transfer-of-authority operations with the 97th Military Police Battalion. Soon after the transfer of authority, the 504th was assigned to the 4th Brigade, 82d Airborne Division, positioning Task Force Dragon Fighter to conduct police mentorship training operations to enhance the capabilities of the Afghan National Police (ANP), provide security to the population of Kandahar City, and support government leaders in understanding and meeting the needs of the local populace.
The 504th Military Police Battalion entered the theater with a familiar face--the 170th Military Police Company, who had completed a relief-in-place operation with the 293d Military Police Company (at that time, the only military police company in Kandahar City). Just days after the 504th began operations, the 372d Military Police Company joined Task Force Dragon Fighter. In each subsequent month, the 552d Military Police Company, the 202d Military Police Company, and the 511th Military Police Company transitioned into Task Force Dragon Fighter. During this time, the 504th was under the command of the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division--or the "Raider Brigade."
The 504th Military Police Battalion and ANP expediently executed decisive operations in Kandahar City. The most notable of these operations occurred in August, when efforts were focused on Malajat--which had previously been considered a sanctuary of Taliban support that had allowed for enemy freedom of movement into the city.
Following a largely ineffective ANP clearing operation in July, the 504th worked with ANP to plan and execute Operation Malajat I, incorporating critical lessons learned from the initial operation. In early August, elements of the battalion headquarters, the 170th Military Police Company, the 372d Military Police Company, and the ANP swept through the Taliban-controlled area to disrupt the insurgent activity. This operation led to multiple small arms engagements and improvised explosive device (IED) detonations. By the end of the day, 21 suspected insurgents were detained and two large cache sites were discovered.
With the area confirmed as a Taliban stronghold, planning immediately began for a Raider Brigade level operation to support a deliberate, large-scale ANSF "clear and hold" of Malajat. On 25 August, Operation Malajat II began as the 504th Military Police Battalion and ANP established blocking positions to the north, west, and east of Malajat. Task Force Dragon Fighter communications and operations sections established a battalion forward tactical command post at Police Subsubstation (PSS) 6, located inside the Malajat area. With blocking positions set, communications established, and logistical support flowing, the clearing operation began with an Afghan Border Police task force followed by the 1st Battalion, 22d Infantry Regiment (partnered with Afghan National Civil Order Police). The Afghan Border Police moved from the Dand District, in the southern part of Malajat, to the northern portion of Malajat, just south of Highway 1 in Kandahar City. For the next 2 weeks, the partnered mission …