KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Nov. 5, 2013) -- Security Force Assistance Team 3205, with 3rd Squadron, Combined Task Force Dragoon, are making their mark in history by assisting soldiers of the Afghan National Army's 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps, to become more proficient in war-fighting skills necessary to overcome enemy forces.
The Afghan National Army, known as the ANA, soldiers gathered together for weapons training at Forward Operating Base Pasab, Afghanistan, Oct. 28-29. The training covered proper safety standards, aiming and trigger squeeze. The soldiers were taught the fundamentals of basic rifle marksmanship while attending the range, and fired a number of weapons including the M16A2 Rifle, the M2 .50 Caliber machine gun, and the M240B machine gun.
Soldiers also took part in additional training including troop leading procedures, mounted and dismounted patrolling techniques, cordon and search procedures, ambush and assault on an objective, land navigation and map reading. The Security Force Assistance Team, or SFAT, is expanding the knowledge and expertise of the 3rd Bde., 205th Corps, to help the Afghan soldiers obtain the skills necessary to teach others in their unit and beyond.
"The whole goal of this is to export a training plan to the individual brigades throughout the 205th Corps," said Lt. Col. Peter Zike, chief of SFAT 301, 3rd Bde., 205th Corps. "We provide the education, the tactical expertise and the confidence so they can take this back out to the Afghan army and teach a train-the-trainer course to make them more sustainable."
Brigadier General Ghulam Sarvari Murtaza, commander of 3rd Bde., 205th Corps, visited the soldiers during range operations. He expressed his gratitude for the soldiers who are going through the training and encouraged them to take as much from it as possible.
"I love this course and I want you guys to learn as much as possible," Murtaza explained to his soldiers. "(Dragoon Troopers) will teach you guys how to maintain weapons. You are the future and you are going to put the flag up for Afghanistan."
While on the range, the ANA soldiers also had a chance to learn about range operations. While participating and learning, a number of them were chosen to operate as range officials and learn the tasks performed during live-fire exercises. This will enable the soldiers to perform similar operations at their units.
"The ANA are tremendous warfighters and they have done a really good job of grasping the material we have given to them," said 1st Lt. Jerry Wesley Sparks, a member of SFAT 3205 and officer-in-charge of the day's range. "We have four of the soldiers working as range detail personnel, so they are learning the range operations and we have the rest of the soldiers who are conducting firing training. They are able to grasp the training material and actually fire effectively, and that's what we are trying to get them to do."
The ANA soldiers were not the only ones learning during the two-day range training, which was part of a week-long Afghan Advanced Enhanced Leader Training course. They shared their experiences with U.S. troopers, and intend on using that shared knowledge to create future training for their fellow soldiers. The training also created a foundation for subsequent advising of other Afghan units for the team.
"I think they are incredibly engaged and they have a lot of good information they are bringing up," said Sparks. "We are trying to incorporate that into future training. They are definitely grasping the information. They did a really good job and as we move forward the training is going to be built around this foundation."