CAMP SHAHEEN, Afghanistan (Dec. 19, 2012) -- After four long, grueling months, 33 Afghan National Army soldiers and Afghan National Civil Order Police graduated from basic mechanic training together at the 4th Regional Logistics Support Command here, Dec. 1.

Over the past several weeks, the soldiers and policemen spent countless hours in hands-on training with hopes of becoming trained mechanics. Throughout the course, the students learned maintenance management and safety, how to troubleshoot and repair a variety of engine and vehicle parts, ways to correct malfunctioning systems and how to service a transmission assembly.

"Having the mechanics course on Camp Shaheen served the purpose of the Afghan National Army, or ANA, and the Afghan National Civil Order Police, or ANCOP, working side by side in the development of a new skill," said Lt. Col. Daniel Erker, senior adviser to the 6th Brigade ANCOP Special Support Battalion. These newly trained mechanics can now share their knowledge with their respective units."

Camp Shaheen is an ANA compound located in Mazar-e Sharif.

This trial mechanic training program not only produced skilled, prepared mechanics, but it also provided a solution for an age-old problem. Up until now, ANCOP had no means of training a mechanic, nor did they have a single mechanic. The ANA, however, not only had trained mechanics, but they also had a maintenance training program as well as an on-the-job training program already established.

Bringing the two forces, the ANCOP and the ANA, together in one location was the perfect way to establish joint training.

"The 6th Brigade ANCOP Special Support Battalion now has four trained mechanics and is one step closer to independently maintaining themselves," said Erker.

Not only did the trial program help the ANCOP policemen get valuable training, but the program brought two different groups together for a common purpose.

"This joint training disproves the urban myth that police and soldiers can't work together," said Maj. Matthew Berridge, senior maintenance adviser with Regional Support Command-North.

Everything about the program involved cooperation between the ANA and ANCOP: they used the same facility, had the same teachers and received the same certified training in one location. The only way instructors could tell the ANSF apart was via their uniforms.

"They laughed and joked together on breaks, sat together in class and worked together on the vehicles," added Berridge.

Military Professional Resources Incorporated contractors served as the primary instructors for the class along with ANA soldier assistants. Not only did this help to strengthen the cooperative effort of the groups, but it helped create a team-oriented ANSF that will help in sustaining Afghanistan long into the future, said Erker.

The only obstacle the training advisers had to overcome involved transporting the policemen to and from the training due to restrictions coming on and off Camp Shaheen. With such a small obstacle in the way of successful training, the joint training will continue to offer future programs for the ANSF. According to Berridge, future joint training will include another maintenance class in the new year as well as an upcoming wrecker training course.

"Without maintenance, vehicles can't move," said Berridge.

"Without vehicles, missions can't happen."

Page last updated Wed December 19th, 2012 at 09:40