ENTEBBE, Uganda - Thirteen troops from the Uganda Peoples Defence Force earned entry-level certification in aircraft load planning following a recent U.S. Army Africa (USARAF)-led mentorship program.

The UPDF soldiers underwent the U.S. Air Mobility Command (AMC) air load planners' course during an Africa Deployment Assistance Partnership Team (ADAPT) program. Ugandan soldiers and airmen attended the three-week course, which wrapped up Nov. 4 following Natural Fire 10.

"The Ugandans were eager to advance their knowledge of how the U.S. military conducts transportation operations at different levels and how that could be implemented with their current daily operations," said Alex Menzies, a U.S. Army civilian employee from USARAF logistics division who led the course.

In all, 41 Ugandan students took part in the ADAPT program. Of that, 38 students underwent the AMC load planning course.

Menzies and U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith James worked with Ugandan logisticians during Natural Fire 10, a multi-national exercise led by USARAF that included forces from five East African partner nations. The two-week effort included security training and humanitarian assistance projects. When Natural Fire 10 wrapped, ADAPT participants assisted USARAF by preparing part of the command's mobile headquarters for redeployment.

Students got hands-on mentoring, learning how to prepare pallets, containers, and rolling stock for air shipment, Menzies said. They also learned about the U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter, should they ever need to load gear on board.

Coordinated through U.S. Africa Command, ADAPT is designed to enhance African national military deployment capabilities while simultaneously developing greater interoperability with U.S. military forces. The program in Uganda was coordinated through the U.S. Embassy staff in Kampala.

USARAF Soldiers often support ADAPT events in Africa, to include a recent program in Ghana. In Jan. 2009, USARAF Soldiers conducted an ADAPT program in Rwanda that enabled the first Rwandan-led loading of U.N. equipment and supplies onto five U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft., which supported peacekeepers in Darfur, Sudan.

ADAPT has a long term focus. It is conducted in four phased engagements - roughly one each year, to build partner skills. The program begins with mentoring tactical movements and continues to certification in international force deployment and redeployment techniques. By the fourth year, partner nations undergo a refresher, furthering engagement with U.S. forces.

USARAF logistics experts share their knowledge of loading U.S. Air Force cargo planes, focusing on airplanes commonly used in Africa, such as the C-130. Eventually, Uganda could offer ADAPT missions to other African countries, Menzies said.

"Actually, loading aircraft adds realism to the training," Menzies said. "Over time, African partner nations may integrate ADAPT into their core logistics training."

Page last updated Sun December 13th, 2009 at 13:05