Air Assault Academy
The 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Falcon Commander, Col. Don Galli, (center) speaks to Brig. Gen. Mohammed Barat (left), the wing commander of the Afghan National Army Air Corps, and Gen. Lawang, Afghan National Army Commando commander, during a briefing prior to the opening ceremony of the Afghan National Security Forces Air Assault Academy at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 6.

This is the first installment of a four-part series from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade highlighting the Air Assault Academy in Afghanistan.

<b>BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan</b> - On the heels of the Afghan National Security Forces Crew Chief Academy's first graduation, the ANSF Air Assault Academy opened its doors during a ceremony at Bagram Airfield, March 6.

The five Afghan National Army Air Corps' crew chiefs, who graduated the Crew Chief Academy, March 4, joined ANA Commandoes as the first class of the Air Assault Academy.

"The Afghan Soldiers with us today are the first to volunteer for our air assault course," said Col. Don Galli, commander of 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Falcon. "We are honored to have these brave soldiers working with us. We are also hopeful that they will be the first of many Afghan soldiers to train with us."

During the opening ceremony, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Barat, the wing commander of the ANAAC also spoke, encouraging the inaugural class not to under appreciate the opportunity they've been given.

"We are proud that we have our friends here and thankful for the efforts they are doing for the peace and security of Afghanistan," said Barat during his speech. "Everyone should be on time and disciplined so that our friends here know that their efforts they have done here are not wasted (and so we) show the Afghan soldiers have the ability to execute missions in the future."

The Air Assault Academy is the second of two academies within the TF Falcon Combined Action Program, the other being the ANSF Crew Chief Academy. For the second time, the ANAAC crew chiefs will be part of an inaugural class, this time, taking the skills they learned from the Crew Chief Academy and applying it to flying air assault missions.

"First, I want to say that I am glad that I am here," said Asif Malikgada, one of the five ANAAC crew chiefs. "In the first crew chief course, we learned a lot of things. Second, it's a great opportunity to get to work shoulder to shoulder with U.S. Soldiers because they are serving Afghanistan, the same as us, and I'm glad to work with them."

The 22 ANA Commandos will participate in two weeks of classes where they will be taught subjects such as map reading and how to conduct air assault briefs.

"We're starting from the very bottom," said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Braund, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, TF Knighthawk, 3rd CAB, TF Falcon, and one of the academy instructors. "We want them to get into the mindset of getting from point A to point B at a certain time, and we'll have to break that down. We'll teach them to find out what the ground commander wants and how to employ aviation assets to support that request."

Page last updated Thu March 18th, 2010 at 16:15