An Arlington soldier was recently highlighted by U.S. Central Command for his work clearing routes in southern Afghanistan of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Army Spc. Francis Cremone, of Arlington, operates a Husky Mounted Detection System (HMDS) to search for IEDs in front of route clearance patrols outside of Forward Operating Base Sarkari Karez in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to a U.S. Central Command press release.
Cremone and Army Spc. Joaquin Valera, of Boston, drive the vehicles for the 1st Platoon, 182nd Engineer Company, 223rd Engineer Battalion.
The men are the “first to encounter the threat of potential [IEDs]” and, therefore, “have one of the most dangerous jobs of a route clearance patrol soldier,” according to the release. They exhibit “extreme courage” on a daily basis, the release states.
“We’re looking for indicators,” Cremone said. “No matter how you slice it, when you’re in the lead, in the Husky, your first thing is to look for indicators.”
During their deployment, Cremone and Valera have been on hundreds of missions and cleared thousands of kilometers of routes in southern Afghanistan, according to the release.
The two local men were praised by their platoon leader in the release.
“I think they do an excellent job,” Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Salzberg said. “We pick up a lot of hits, being able to distinguish between those and driving the Husky – it takes a lot.”