Monday, June 21, 2010

Afghan National Army recruits graduate from Joint Security Academy (SW) in Helmand

‘Every day I work for Afghanistan’ cried Nasrah Khan, as he raised his Best Student Certificate above his head for his comrades to see. The graduates applauded as Khan turned and saluted General Malouk as he marched off the stage.

General Malouk, Commander 215 Corps of the Afghan National Army (ANA) was Guest of Honour at the ceremony which saw 100 recruits graduate from the Joint Security Academy South West (JSAS) at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand.

The course is run by the US Marine Corps Expeditionary Force and is based on a successful training programme run by the Marines in Iraq. The Academy takes recruits who have volunteered to train with the Marines and turns them into ANA Warriors (the name given to ANA privates).

The Academy aims to train up to 1,200 high quality Warriors and uniformed Policemen at a time. The eight week course covers subjects which include ethics, the Afghan constitution and infantry skills.

Major General Mills, the Marine Expeditionary Force Commander
(3rd from left) attends the Graduation ceremony

These soldiering skills are developed enough over the training period to allow the recruits to conduct patrols with their instructors in Helmand. Sgt Kevin Prindable, USMC Chief Instructor on the course described how “We went to a Patrol base and went on combat patrols. The students learned a lot and were really good - I trust them 100% with my life and would go into combat with them any day”.

The course is run by both US Marines and ANA instructors who work, eat, train and live with the recruits virtually every hour of the day or night throughout the intensive eight week training course.

This close contact, according to Sgt Prendible, means the students approach instructors at any time for advice, and they socialise together. This has helped the Marines better understand Afghan soldiers and their culture which he believes, improves their abilities as instructors.

Nasrah Khan described how “The training with the Marines was hard but I am very proud of graduating today” He said he will now get to work as a soldier “I want to do as much as I can to work and rebuild my dear Afghanistan”.

Afghan National Army soldiers are addressed by one of their commanders prior to the graduation ceremony taking place

Terry Walker, a former US Marine and Training Advisor to General Mills, Commander USMC Expeditionary Course described how the Academy will expand over the coming months. In addition to the recruits course a Non-commissioned Officers (NCO) course will start in July and a Junior Officer’s training programme is due to be introduced.

There are plans to train soldiers and policemen together for certain elements of the training which are relevant to both professions - in particular the focus on leadership development and discipline.

Working with the USMC is Lt Pete Quentin, a TA officer on attachment from the London Regiment. He is developing the content for the NCO course and is certain the Academy’s courses will be successful in turning out quality NCOs who will develop instructional capabilities of their own ensuring the Afghans don’t become too dependant on the coalition forces to train their troops.

“Here we will mentor through demonstration and work very closely with the ANA but say ‘Guys you stand on our shoulders and watch how we conduct this because next time you’ll be running through it and we’ll be expecting to stand back and watch you do this’”.

He admitted it takes time but says “If you can get the balance between training good robust ANA troops and building long term instructional capacity you’ve got a winning formula”

The ANA graduates will now go to 251 Corps and the Police graduates will be set to work in Helmand Province.

Pictures: Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC

No comments:

Post a Comment