MONROVIA, Liberia - For the first time, armed forces of Liberia soldiers instructed their fellow soldiers in formal non-commissioned officer-centric training at Edwin Binyah Kesselly Military Barracks March 5-22.

Though previous warrior leadership courses have been conducted within the AFL, they have always been taught by U.S.-based training teams.

During this course, however, select AFL non-commissioned officers, after a small amount of refresher training, instructed their fellow service members, with their U.S. advisers standing by to assist them as necessary.

The end result: better informed soldiers and greater experts among the AFL NCO Corps, at least according to one instructor.

"I like the way this course is built up to help the AFL," Cpl. Daniel Benson, AFL Armed Forces Training Center Opposition Forces squad leader and one of the soldiers chosen as cadre for the WLC course, said. "It helps us to see how we can make the training better. If we stick to the [train-the-trainer] model, the instructors become better experts and we are better able to relate to our fellow soldiers, facilitating even better training after our American counterparts have departed."

The course's design helps the AFL grow their own future leaders and instructors, said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Marco Zamor of Lauderhill, Fla., a military police adviser and instructor from Security Assistance Training Management Organization, Fort Bragg, N.C., one of several advisers sent to oversee the training.

"The way this course is built, it helps the AFL see the role NCOs can play when given the opportunity to lead," Zamor said. "The empowerment they're learning is just amazing, and when they realize they do have a voice in them to make lasting changes within their military, they gain the confidence to act when called upon. They are learning to lead first, to make things happen, and to keep their leadership informed."

"This type of training gives better insight and training on how to lead troops," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jerome Harper of Fayetteville, N.C., a SATMO signal advisor/instructor. "It serves as a great introduction to the NCO side of the house and is the first step toward leading soldiers. NCOs are important because they provide direction of purpose. They do the Army's daily business, they get orders from their leadership, and their job is to execute, to make it happen."

Thanks to the determination to succeed displayed by the soldiers of the AFL and the expertise provided to them by their American counterparts, the AFL NCO Corps truly is making it happen.

Page last updated Thu June 21st, 2012 at 15:22