By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew ChlostaSeptember 26, 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan - The International Security Assistance Force senior enlisted leader made his first visit Sept. 23 to the Afghan National Army's (ANA) Sergeant Major's Academy with the Sergeant Major of the ANA in an expansion of their partnership.
U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill and SMA Command Sgt. Maj. Roshan Safi met with students from the ANA Sergeant Major Academy's third class to get feedback and dole out information and suggestions.
Hill said the ANA noncommissioned officers play an even more prominent role as the ANA takes the lead in more and more operations.
"The Afghan Army is making a big investment in you," Hill told the class. "They're attempting to sharpen and hone the skills you already have. You are leaders who should be out leading troops in combat."
The ANA supports this investment by bringing Afghan NCOs back from the field to form the cadre for training future sergeants major, said Hill. "I know you won't let them down. Thank you for what you're doing for your country."
Some of the students asked very pointed questions on a variety of subjects. One subject that came up was the differences in NCO training by different coalition partners in Regional Command - North.
"There is only one standard," Hill said. "You [the sergeants major] tell me what you want. You articulate your needs, and we'll build a training packet to help your needs."
There was also a question about possibly having ANA partner with the surged U.S. Army troops in RC - N. "I owe you an answer on that plan," Hill said.
Other questions focused on the possibility of the ANA switching from the M-16 to the M-4 rifle and sending more Afghan NCOs to the United States to attend NCO schools, like the U.S. Sergeant Major Academy.
After the question and answer session, Hill and Roshan conducted a working group with ANA and U.S. Army leadership from the Kabul Military Training Center.
The measure of an academy's success is if the sergeants major can go out into the field with their units and execute the commander's intent, Hill said.
Roshan added that the person who is making history has a hard job.
"We live in do'ville and not think'ville," Hill said. "We do stuff, and that is what our leaders expect of us. General Petraeus expects me to think, but he knows I'm from do'ville. Sergeant majors do stuff."