Strike Soldiers advise ANA through first artillery school graduation
March 16, 2014
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Soldiers with 1st Brigade, 201st Corps, Afghan National Army Corps graduated the D-30 Howitzer Course at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Laghman province, Afghanistan March 9, 2014.
This was the first group of ANA soldiers, who were instructed by ANA trainers, under the auspices of the Train Advise Assist Command Northeast, Mobile Field Artillery Advisory Team assigned to 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
The TAAC-NE's MFAAT provided [201st ANA Corps] with over-the-shoulder advising as they worked through the last week of their training to certify forward observers, fire direction center and their gun line, said 1st Lt. Matthew McMinn, Fire Directional Support officer with the MFAAT.
"As far as FDC goes, [ANA soldiers] were processing fire missions manually and sending them to the gun line. They also receive fire missions from the Forward Observers. The forward observers were getting accurate target locations and self locating, plotting targets on the map. As well as sending those fire missions to the FDC," said McMinn. "The gun line was taking those fire missions from the FDC and doing dry-fire missions and certification."
The ANA soldiers learned basic procedures for finding targets, plotting and firing the 122mm D-30 howitzer, a Soviet-produced, artillery gun.
McMinn also added that the ANA trainers, who taught the four-week class, showed knowledge and instruction capabilities during the training.
"They have a good skill set -- good base skill set. Each one of them understands the whole process [of the course]," McMinn said. "They understand this is what we should expect from [ANA] forward observers, our FDC and our guns lines."
McMinn also said that the MFAAT has expectations where the trainers could be improved.
"The primary instructors are the Afghans. If we see something that need to be improved on, we step in show them how we like to do it, while still empowering them to teach the class in their own method, in their own way," McMinn said.
Although the MFAAT was not there for the beginning of the training, the three weeks they have spent with this group of ANA soldiers will be a benefit to their overall assessment of the class and instructors, according to Cpl. Wesley McGraw, a Fire Direction non-commissioned officer with Battery A, 1st Bn., 320th FA Regt., 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div.
"Our mission is to assess the overall standard of training being conducted at the FOB Gamberi Artillery school house," said McGraw. "We've been mostly observing from a distance and assessing where the instructors currently are."
McGraw added that the advisor team will encourage and highlight the useful training methods of the Afghan instructors.
"We plan on improving or encouraging good acts that we see go on inside the classroom as these weeks go on," McGraw said.