FOB (forward operating base) Dahlke is a new austere US Army base in Afghanistan with a large presence of soldiers from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. Every type of air support mission is done from here, from medevac to resupply to combat.
Dahlke was built from the ground up over the past year by the soldiers stationed here. It is built on the South end of the now abandoned Shank Base. Almost $6 million alone has been spent on miles of Hesco barriers, wire frames that are filled with sand and serve as walls. Additionally, trucks hauled in more than 700 sections of blast wall. There are no fancy amenities at Dahlke. With constant incoming fire from the Taliban, Dahlke is a black out base. Which means at night there are no external lights, and helicopters take off dark (with no lights). Soldiers have nicknamed Dahlke, Rocket City.
Due to weather and terrain, Afghanistan is one of the most difficult places in the world to conduct helicopter operations. These combinations assure that every helicopter crew out of Dahlke is top notch, and in constant use. 101st CAB soldiers fly every type of helicopter out of Dahlke; Blackhawks, Chinooks, and Apaches. The Chinook CH-47 is the workhorse here. Due to its better function in Afghan weather than a Blackhawk and ability to carry more weight, the 101st CAB depends heavily on them. There are more US Chinook helicopters currently in Afghanistan than anywhere else.
The Afghan War against the Taliban is one of the longest wars in history. It is now going on its 18th year. Nato Operation Resolute Support, led by the United States along with the help of over 40 other countries, is helping to train and eventually provide a stronger Afghan National Army. All in hopes that the Afghan National Army will one day be able to protect their own country.
When the US ended combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014 many secure districts fell right back into the hands of the Taliban due to lack of ability by the Afghan National Army. The 101st Combat Aviation Brigade was sent back to Afghanistan in the Spring of 2018 to further aid in air support with the ANA against the Taliban. All in hopes of taking back control of lost regions, and preventing capture of new regions. The air support provided by the 101st CAB is one of the biggest advantages the ANA has over the Taliban. Under Trump’s new Afghanistan policy American soldiers face restrictions in ground combat against the Taliban, but they are able to do missions via air support restriction free. They are actually now able to conduct at will airstrikes against the Taliban. With this opportunity FOB Dahlke has come into existence, and will only grow. The number of munitions dropped via air in 2018 is over 3,000. More than 3x that of 2017. Whether or not this new base is necessary or just another US way to gain more control is irrelevant, as these soldiers are there to provide invaluable support regardless.