Sergeant recalls May 19 attack at Bagram

  • Published
  • By Mike McKito
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
The night shift for security forces Airmen protecting Alpha Sector started out just like any other day at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. But any sense of normalcy for Master Sgt. David Krebs and 12 other security forces Airmen from Sheppard Air Force Base was shattered with the thundering impacts of mortar rounds and cracking of small arm fire in the early morning hours.

Insurgents attacked their base at about 3:30 a.m., said Sergeant Krebs, the NCO in charge for that sector of the airfield for the 455th Expeditionary Security Squadron. The mortar fire continued for about 30 minutes when one of the sergeant's Airmen noticed movement along a perimeter fence, and then observed a loud blast. More mortar rounds and small arms fire soon began hitting the compound.

"We had just got done with guard mount (shift change) when we started receiving RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and small arms fire," Sergeant Krebs said. "We had rockets going overhead and 762 tracers going by us."

The veteran sergeant grabbed four Airmen and moved through the fuel yard while under fire. The team moved to the the tower that was under attack. Once at the tower, he said each Airman took a defensive fighting position prepared to defend their portion of the airfield.

Sergeant Krebs said they then noticed four heavily armed insurgents inside the perimeter firing RPGs and other munitions at the tower.

"They all had suicide vests on. They had around 25 grenades and a pull cord," Sergeant Krebs said.

The security forces Airmen engaged the enemy forces, eventually taking out the threat. But the insurgents wouldn't let up, he said.

"As soon as they hit us there, they hit us on the other side of my sector with three other guys," he said.

After neutralizing this second group, seven to nine more combatants tried entering the perimeter in another sector and the threat was neutralized by security forces Airmen and Army Apache helicopters. Sergeant Krebs said he believes the insurgents "were trying to inflict mass casualties on the base" and "if they would have gotten on base with those suicide vests, all they had to do is go into a populated tent or chow hall to inflict heavy casualties."

In all, Sergeant Krebs said his team and the Apaches neutralized 16 insurgents.
The sergeant said he credits the training he and his team received prior to his deployment as the crucial element for their success.

"We went to Fort Bliss (Texas) for 45 days of training," Sergeant Krebs said. "I've been through many RTCs (regional training centers), and you pick up something every time you go."

The sergeant returned early from his deployment because of aggravating a previous injury while running to the fight. He is scheduled for an operation to remove the "metal" from a previous surgery in his knee and to fix his medial collateral ligament.

When asked if he was glad to be home, Sergeant Krebs said "Yes. I'd rather be with my guys, though."