• Sgt. Maj. Jerryn McCarroll from U.S. Army Africa's Security Cooperation Division talks to Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted officers. As part of the Africa Military Education Program, McCarroll along with Sgt. Maj. Timothy Watts from USARAF SCD, spent more than three months working with MDF senior NCOs at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

    USARAF Sergeants Majors train Malawi senior enlisted

    Sgt. Maj. Jerryn McCarroll from U.S. Army Africa's Security Cooperation Division talks to Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted officers. As part of the Africa Military Education Program, McCarroll along with Sgt. Maj. Timothy Watts from USARAF SCD...

  • Sgt. Maj. Timothy Watts from U.S. Army Africa's Security Cooperation Division helps a Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted officer with computer skills. As part of the Africa Military Education Program, Watts, along with Sgt. Maj. Jerryn McCarroll from USARAF SCD, spent more than three months working with MDF senior NCOs at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

    USARAF Sergeants Majors train Malawi senior enlisted

    Sgt. Maj. Timothy Watts from U.S. Army Africa's Security Cooperation Division helps a Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted officer with computer skills. As part of the Africa Military Education Program, Watts, along with Sgt. Maj. Jerryn McCarroll from...

  • Sgt. Maj. Timothy Watts from U.S. Army Africa's Security Cooperation Division leads Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted officers during physical training. As part of the Africa Military Education Program, Watts, along with Sgt. Maj. Jerryn McCarroll from USARAF SCD, spent more than three months working with MDF senior NCOs at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

    USARAF Sergeants Majors train Malawi senior enlisted

    Sgt. Maj. Timothy Watts from U.S. Army Africa's Security Cooperation Division leads Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted officers during physical training. As part of the Africa Military Education Program, Watts, along with Sgt. Maj. Jerryn McCarroll...

  • As part of the Africa Military Education Program, a team of two U.S. Army Africa sergeants major spent more than three months working with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted advisors at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

    USARAF Sergeants Majors train Malawi senior enlisted

    As part of the Africa Military Education Program, a team of two U.S. Army Africa sergeants major spent more than three months working with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted advisors at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

  • As part of the Africa Military Education Program, a team of two U.S. Army Africa sergeants major spent more than three months working with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted advisors at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

    USARAF Sergeants Majors train Malawi senior enlisted

    As part of the Africa Military Education Program, a team of two U.S. Army Africa sergeants major spent more than three months working with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted advisors at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

  • Sgt. Maj. Jerryn McCarroll  from U.S. Army Africa's Security Cooperation Division talks with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted officers about combative skills. As part of the Africa Military Education Program, McCarroll along with Sgt. Maj. Timothy Watts from USARAF SCD, spent more than three months working with MDF senior NCOs at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

    USARAF Sergeants Majors train Malawi senior enlisted

    Sgt. Maj. Jerryn McCarroll from U.S. Army Africa's Security Cooperation Division talks with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted officers about combative skills. As part of the Africa Military Education Program, McCarroll along with Sgt. Maj. Timothy...

  • As part of the Africa Military Education Program, a team of two U.S. Army Africa sergeants major spent more than three months working with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted advisors at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

    USARAF Sergeants Majors train Malawi senior enlisted

    As part of the Africa Military Education Program, a team of two U.S. Army Africa sergeants major spent more than three months working with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted advisors at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

  • As part of the Africa Military Education Program, a team of two U.S. Army Africa sergeants major spent more than three months working with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted advisors at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

    USARAF Sergeants Majors train Malawi senior enlisted

    As part of the Africa Military Education Program, a team of two U.S. Army Africa sergeants major spent more than three months working with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted advisors at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy.

Two of U.S. Army Africa's senior noncommissioned officers spent more than three months working with Malawi Defense Force senior enlisted advisors at the Malawi Sergeants Major Academy, a pilot program with USARAF being the first to receive funding for a program like this.

Sergeants Major Jerryn McCarroll, and Timothy Watts, from USARAF's Security Cooperation Division provided more than training; they were mentors 24 hours a day, seven days a week from Jan. 6 to April 17.

The USARAF event is part of the Africa Military Education Program that focuses on improving the capacity of African military and training institutions. AMEP does this by providing support for curriculum development, training of trainers, and facilitating the purchase of educational equipment for various countries on the continent.

"The biggest part of it was the cultural aspect and how we wanted to approach training -- I think it went very well, and will be a big impact on the country in the future," said Watts. "It's a really good program because we're teaching 'we're going to help you, but only up to a certain point.' It allows the country to move forward without us once we get them to where they should be."

Watts said they discussed cultural differences since western culture and African culture are so different, but the training itself is tailored to their doctrine and to their system, not the U.S.'s system.

"Our goal is to always have a U.N standard when we teach them, but they didn't have any established doctrine; therefore, we had to be flexible as we went along," Watts said. "We made it so they will be able to continue training without us.

Providing them with training they can improve upon, tailor to their needs, then continue to train without us is our ultimate goal."

There are three phases of the training with the first iteration being training the senior NCOs. During the second phase scheduled for August 2014, Watts and McCarroll will shadow the MDF senior advisors as they train their NCOs.

"For the first four weeks, we provided them with the Warrior Leader Course and Advanced Leader Course curriculum," said McCarroll. "Once we built them up with those, we provided instruction on U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy curriculum during the second part of Phase I."

While working through the WLC, ALC and USASMA curriculum, McCarroll cited communication barriers as one of the biggest challenges.

"Throughout the initial process classes normally lasted two hours, but Sgt. Maj. Watts and I realized quickly that we would have to spend more time with the students and extend classes to make sure the students understood and were confident that they knew and understood the material," McCarroll said.

"Throughout the initial process classes normally lasted two hours, but Sgt. Maj. Watts and I realized quickly that we would have to spend more time with the students and extend classes to make sure the students understood and were confident that they knew and understood the material," McCarroll said.

Another challenge was with their lack of experience with and access to technology.

"We started the course with computer training and I would say 98 percent of the class had never touched a computer," McCarroll said. "Through AMEP program, they bought nine laptops and we gave them the basics on how to use a computer with Microsoft Office software. They needed that knowledge throughout the course because they were required to write research papers, and they had construct several Powerpoint presentations for the class because that's part of what we, as senior NCOs are required to do."

As instructors, McCarroll said it made him feel good to be a part of this pilot training program.

"All the NCOs are hungry and they wanted this knowledge," McCarroll said. "When we arrived, their eyes were wide open -- they were like a sponge soaking up all the information that we gave them. Although the curriculum is U.S. Army, we met them half-way. We didn't go in there and say 'this is how you need to do it.' We made recommendations to the NCOs and to the leadership. For example we said 'if you want to transition from a traditional Army to a professional Army, we recommend you do this, but you don't have to do it -- it's just our recommendation.'"

Watts said they stayed late many nights talking about ethics, leadership, critical thinking and problem solving.

"These are the areas that will help them move forward into a professional Army," Watts said. "Ethics is big throughout Africa and throughout the world. For them to be able to move forward with their Army they need good leaders in the Malawi Defense Force. Critical Thinking was a tough one and they had a lot of questions about that and it went right into problem solving. Hopefully we were able to get through to them so they can start putting this information out and coming up with their own way of doing it because the way they approach things is very different from how we do things."

Of the 30 graduates of the program, six were females.

"The top student was a female, and she received her promotion on graduation day," McCarroll said. "Gen. Odillo, commander of the MDF, said he'd like to send a female NCO to the next sergeant's major course in the U.S., and we recommended that she be the one to attend."

McCarroll said they asked the males soldiers how they felt about working for senior female soldiers.

"They said they were fine with it," McCarroll said. "They said if a female is their superior then she has the position and influence for them to follow her. So, we had no problems with females getting along with the males. Plus, we had a female senior NCO, Sgt. Maj. Carolina Johnson from USARAF's Equal Opportunity Office, give a class on equal opportunity, sexual harassment and sexual assault and that class paid huge dividends. We made recommendations to the general about having an equal opportunity representative at each command level stressing that it will help not only him, but each commander if they establish a SHARP program."

From day one the students were taught that they are a part of something bigger than themselves so Watts said he and McCarroll hope the students walked away with an understanding of this system of values.

"We stressed to the students that change, whether small or big, starts with them and it's their responsibility to earn their officer's trust and confidence." Watts said. "'Change' was a revolving theme in the academy the whole time we were there. We asked 'where does change start?' and emphasized 'it starts with us, and not to let any road blocks interfere with sharing knowledge,' which was another cultural aspect where everyone normally holds on to their knowledge and won't share it -- it's like power."

The intent is that this training transition into a regional course where the MDF can actually invite the southern regional African countries to participate.

"I'm in contact with a couple of the instructors to see exactly what they're doing right now and they're talking to their leadership to see exactly what they want them to do," McCarroll said. "Right now they are fine-tuning the WLC, ALC, and USASMA curriculum and tailoring it to the MDF, so when we go back down in August for the MDF instructor-led training, they should have a tailored MDF curriculum completed."

Page last updated Tue May 20th, 2014 at 07:09