Trainer Mentors strengthen trust, capabilities with Afghan Army
October 10, 2012
An unexpected delay in Manus forced the new First Army Trainer Mentor Team-East to transition operations in Afghanistan in only 36 hours. Luckily, the outgoing team, TMT-West, prepared for the unexpected, and the two teams transitioned smoothly.
"A well thought-out relief in place with First Army Division West guaranteed a smooth transition for both First Army teams," said Capt. Ronald Opperman, First Army Division East Trainer Mentor with TMT-E.
TMT, comprised of highly-trained officers and noncommissioned officers, mentor and advise Afghan units as they conduct security operations. TMT-E began training in mid-July 2012 and deployed in August 2012, replacing a team of Soldiers assigned to First Army Division West.
"We have a motivated team of Division East Soldiers eager to assist the Afghan Nation Army realize their potential of becoming one of the most professional and effective Armies in the region. Our relationship will be based on trust and the common belief that a strong Afghan Army means a strong Afghan nation," Opperman explained.
"The Division West team was very well prepared for our arrival and conducted a quick but thorough battle handoff. They passed on very meticulous standard operating procedures, or smart books, laying out detail timelines and methods to conduct day-to-day operations as well as copies of various reports that are due weekly," Opperman continued.
The TMT mission incorporates the joint spirit of the NATO mission, explained Maj. Ernan D. Rodriguez, TMT-E executive officer. In addition to the Americans, TMT teams include German, British, and Canadians teammates. The newly arrived Division East team, with assistance from nine Canadian Soldiers, looks forward to their mission of training and mentoring Afghan National Army leadership as they conduct day-to-day operations to ensure security in their country.
Effective and efficient systems will allow ANA leaders to take on a variety of missions of varying degree of difficulty in the near future, Rodriguez continued.
The team, stationed at Camp Blackhorse, has several objectives. One key goal of the transition, Opperman explained, is minimal interruption of mentorship given to the Kandaks (battalion).
The goal, Opperman explained, is their Afghan partners feel they have gained a second friend verses the loss of a proven mentor. He said his team hopes "to make lasting friendships with our fellow coalition partners and Afghan partners that will pay dividends when it is time for our American troops to start transitioning home."
"We have a motivated team of Division East Soldiers eager to assist the Afghan Nation Army realize their potential of becoming one of the most professional and effective Armies in the region. Our relationship will be based on trust and the common belief that a strong Afghan Army means a strong Afghan nation," Opperman finished.
First Army Division East is responsible for the overall mission of mobilizing, training, validating, and deploying Reserve Component Soldiers around the globe and demobilizing them upon their return home. Last year, First Army Division East mobilized more than 20,000 Soldiers and demobilized almost 26,000. The Division also deploys members on both the TMTs and as members of Security Forces Assistance Advisor Teams.