OTF Soldier Story for October 11, 2010 - Sgt. Jason Collins
Current Unit: Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
Current Position: Military Police Team Leader
Component: Active Duty
Current Location: Fort Drum, N.Y.
Hometown: Beggs, Okla.
Years of Service: 3
Sgt. Jason Collins deployed with the Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in 2009 to the Logar Province in eastern Afghanistan, where he served as a police mentor team (PMT) leader. Each PMT is assigned to a regional district and is responsible for training, advising and mentoring the Afghan National Police (AFN). Working with his team, Collins provided instruction on handling firearms, handcuffing suspects, making vehicle stops and carrying out searches. This training was crucial in allowing the Afghan police force to manage their own security and move toward a self-sustaining government.
“Our job was to help the Afghans build their infrastructure, take control of their own security and form an established government that follows rules and regulations, like we have in the United States,” he said.
As part of their mission, the PMT frequently accompanied Afghan police forces on area patrols. While their role was strictly advisory, it provided the ANP with the hands-on training they needed.
“When we started, they had no idea what a police officer does. They didn’t know how to enforce the procedures and protocol, how to carry a weapon or how to keep track of equipment,” he said. “By the end of their training, they understood how to be effective police officers, and they were prepared for any situation.”
Collins and his team are currently preparing for a second deployment to Afghanistan this spring. Although his unit will be stationed in southern Afghanistan this time, the mission remains the same.
“If we go over there with the same mindset, I’m sure we’ll see results. Hopefully we can start training them right away, because the work we do will lead to a more stable Afghanistan,” he said.
In the future, Collins hopes to become a police officer, confident that his Army training has prepared him well.
“During my military police training, I was taught by civilian officers at Fort Drum, so I’ll definitely be ready for whatever that job sends my way,” he said.
Currently, Collins lives in the Watertown, N.Y. area with his wife Ashley and their three children: Caden (5), Kaley (3) and Cate (8 months).