Tiger Brigade deploys first combat advisors
October 1, 2009
Fort Polk, La. -- The capstone ceremony for the combat advisor Class 81 etched another page in the history books of Tigerland, which is the area used by the 162nd Infantry Brigade to train combat advisors. Their graduation Sept. 18 was a high-spirited farewell to the Soldiers after the completion of their highly intense, 20-day training rotation.
Col. Mark A. Bertolini, the 162nd Infantry Brigade commander, sparked things off with an electrifying definition of what's in store for this first class of combat advisors.
"What lies ahead for our brothers and sisters in arms will greatly affect the world's impression of the U.S. as a whole. These combat advisors hold in their hands the opportunity to change the way the world views all citizens of the United States," Bertolini said.
"They are now ready to hit the ground running. As a result of this joint effort which exemplified the hard work and dedication of both combat and small group advisors, Class 81 is ready to take on and tackle any obstacles that may come their way."
Training for the class of 16 consisted of modules to develop and enhance language, cultural, medical, and combat skills while interacting with foreign security forces, specifically in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation. Although the advisors were the first class to be trained by the 162nd Inf Bde, the professionalism of the brigade's small group advisors reflected on the combat advisor's mission readiness.
Maj. Robb Mattila, commander of the 12-man Operation Mentor Liaison Team, or OMLT, will be heading to Afghanistan in a matter of weeks. "This training was a must for all combat advisors who are heading into theater," he said.
The combat advisor Class 81 graduation Sept. 18 was the first of three graduations for this class. United States Air Force and Navy personnel will graduate on Oct. 17 and 24, respectively.