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Thu, Oct. 17

PV employee prepares for Afghanistan

PRESCOTT VALLEY ­ Dave Shaul has served with the U.S. military for about 30 years, initially with the Army, but the 53-year-old infantryman may see his first war-zone action when he heads for Afghanistan in mid-March for a yearlong assignment as a member of the Arizona National Guard.

He left his job as a buyer for the Finance Department of the Town of Prescott Valley on Friday, and reports for training at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Jan. 3.

"We are (going) there to assist and uphold the Afghan national government," Shaul said. "Our primary mission is to provide security to the individuals who will be

negotiating with various warlords."

Shaul said the fundamentalist Taliban are resurging in Afghanistan. The U.S. military invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime one month after terrorists struck on American soil on Sept. 11, 2001.

Shaul said the National Guard picked him for a NATO mission with the International Security Assistance Force because of his infantry background.

"There are people who volunteered," Shaul said. "I didn't."

He said that he will be assigned to the American-controlled region, near the capital of Kabul.

"It's called a provincial reconstruction team," said Shaul, who joined the National Guard as a reservist after he left the Army in 1979 with the rank of sergeant.

The Arizona National Guard will send about 680 soldiers for the mission, said Major Paul Aguirre, a Phoenix-based public affairs officer.

"It is an infantry unit going out," he said.

Shaul said that he will carry light-infantry weapons: M16 series rifles and squad automatic weapons.

"It's a combat zone, so people are shot at every day," he said. "It will be building security and various construction sites," such as bridges.

Shaul, a Chino Valley resident who is married and has two adult children and two grandchildren, said he opted to take a vacation before reporting to Fort Bragg. He plans to return to his job with the town after he completes his assignment.

He will use his vacation to visit his new grandson, 2-month-old Wesley Reuber in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

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