By Spc. Joshua Edwards, Combined Task Force Dragoon Public AffairsAugust 19, 2013
FORWARD OPERATING BASE ZANGABAD, Afghanistan -- Security Force Assistance Teams with Combined Task Force Dragoon have forged relationships with the Afghan National Army for over a month as the task force's mission continues in southern Afghanistan.
The 2nd Kandak, 1st Brigade, 205th Corps SFAT is furthering its advise and assist role in support of Operation Enduring Freedom by providing knowledge and experience to 2nd Kandak soldiers and enabling them to continue taking the lead to eliminate enemy forces in southern Afghanistan.
Establishing a basis of communication is one of the battlefield skills the team has brought to the Afghan unit at FOB Zangabad. The soldiers got an understanding of aspects needed to effectively relay information during missions.
"The (ANA) got a chance to learn and get familiarized with the radio, learn how to go through the calling process, learn call signs, load frequencies, talk out to different (command outposts) and they got a good overview of what life will be like for them as a (radio telephone operator) out on the battlefield," said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Allen Sanders, communications advisor officer for the team and native of Marks, Miss.
The SFAT provides training to the kandak in multiple areas of military operations to enhance their skills. The new partnership is going well.
"Our relationship is pretty good and in the short time we have been here we have been able to establish some pretty solid rapport," said Maj. Tyrone Powers, team leader for the SFAT and native of Albany, Ga. "We have lined up (counter improvised explosive device) training, medical training, signal training and drivers training. We also do intelligence training, such as map reading."
Sanders said the Afghan soldiers communication skills have significantly increased since the SFAT partnered with them to help the unit maintain the lead in operations.
The SFAT is honing the skills the Afghan soldiers already possess allowing them to create programs to maintain their equipment and troops. The soldiers are aware of the knowledge and experience they currently possess and are ready to learn everything they can to continue building from there.
"We try to develop their skills on whatever they have and we try to expand their knowledge," said Sanders. "We have developed a preventative maintenance plan for them as well. They know they need all the things that we have to offer them and they know that it is needed in their military in order for them to be successful."
The 2nd Kandak is self--sufficient in its operations and requires minimal support from the SFAT in its mission. They are developing and enhancing their combat skills as they continue their mission to become a stand-alone force in Afghanistan.
"I have been very impressed since I have been here with the level of competence," said Rogers. "They have been able to hold ground, they can medically evacuate their guys under fire, they can put together an operations order and they keep us updated every time something goes on. We are not even assisting them with certain parts of operations."
The relationship between the team and the 2nd Kandak remains to be a valuable asset as U.S. Forces continue their transition out of the area. The soldiers continue to refine their capabilities and take the lead in military operations as the partnership with the SFAT continues.