Training: coalition affair at Kandahar
December 23, 2011
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Dec. 23, 2011) -- "When I came in the Army they were the enemy," said Manny LaBelle, Communications-Electronics Command IT switch logistics assistance representative, "and now here I am training them to fight with us."
LaBelle, part of the Logistics Support Element Kandahar, provided training to Romanian soldiers on how to operate and maintain new versions of night-vision systems being issued in Afghanistan. The classes were train-the-trainer sessions for non-commissioned officers and junior officers, mostly first lieutenants and captains.
During the short training sessions, he showed the Soldiers how operate and maintain two different versions of the night vision goggles and a thermal sight system. He then showed them how to attach the night-vision goggles to a helmet and explained some of the common maintenance issues.
"This training here closed the training we did in our country," Said Sgt. Vasile Coman, a squad leader in the Romanian Army.
The training is a continuation of deployment training the Romanians started back home. The Romanians are part of the NATO Coalition here, and will be responsible for security operations in the southern part of the country.
"We worked in Romania with them," said Sgt. Catalin Apostu, also a squad leader. Apostu explained that the training was just a small part of the ongoing cooperation between the two countries.
For LaBelle, who came into the Army during the Cold War, the experience of training Romanian Soldiers has been good.
"You get to know them and they are just like us," said LaBelle. "The only difference between them and us is they speak a different language."