U.S. team trains Malawi Defence Force in convoy ops
February 14, 2012
VICENZA, Italy (Army News Service, Feb. 13, 2012) -- As part of the Africa Deployment Assistance Partnership Team, three U.S. Army instructors traveled to Salima, Malawi, to help 22 personnel from the Malawi Defence Force hone their skills in convoy operations, Jan. 16-20.
Capt. Brad Copas of U.S. Army Africa's G-4 Logistics directorate was the course facilitator and an additional instructor for the week-long training. Copas, along with Maj. Brooke Grubb and Sgt. 1st Class Brian Underwood, covered basic convoy operations and showed the Malawians how to determine a vehicle's center of gravity.
"The ADAPT (Africa Deployment Assistance Partnership Team) class was the first training of this type ever for the Malawi Defence Force," said Brig. Gen. Rodrick Chimowa, commandant of the Malawi Armed Forces College. "We hope you return soon with phase two of this training so that we can improve our skills and continue to support peace operations in Africa."
According to Copas, his charges were an eager group of learners.
"The class was made up of a mixture of officers and noncommissioned officers from the Malawian army and air corps," Copas said. "They picked up the information quickly and didn't need much guidance during practical exercises."
The captain explained how the MDF used the ADAPT training to improve convoy operations.
"MDF troops are accustomed to conducting convoy and deployment operations, and our Malawian partners are great students and good at adapting our training to their operations," Copas said. "They've participated in United Nations peacekeeping missions in the past and will likely do so again. As a result, they'll be able to use this training to enhance the convoy and deployment phases of those missions."
Copas said his fellow instructors, Grubb and Underwood, are Army National Guardsmen who traveled from the U.S. for the ADAPT training in Malawi.
"As instructors, we reinforced that NCOs are normally primary instructors as Underwood took the lead in a lot of the instruction. We covered peacetime and conflict convoy operations, load plans for air operations, and unit movement planning," Copas said.
An example of their ability to adapt occurred when instructors and students were covering a load plan for air shipment practical exercise.
"We didn't have a specialized 463L pallet (used for transporting military air cargo); however, we found a local pallet that performed well. We put our heads together and improvised," Copas said.
He praised the MDF students for their professionalism and academic excellence.
"All of our students performed at a high level. You couldn't ask much more from students. They caught on quickly and require little guidance during practical exercises. They are receptive and appreciative learners," Copas said. "Without hesitation, I would say that all of the students would be successful unit movement officers."