Ugandan soldiers first to earn air load planner certification
By By David Ruderman, U.S. Army Africa Public AffairsSeptember 29, 2010
A U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) organized Africa Deployment Assistance Partnership Team (ADAPT) recently trained, and for the first time ever, certified 25 soldiers of the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) as C-130 aircraft load planners in Entebbe, Uganda.
A five-person team, led by Gordon Christensen of Army Africa's G-4 Mobility Division, completed Phase III training with UPDF soldiers Aug. 27 in Entebbe, Uganda, said John Hanson, chief of USARAF's G-4 Policy and Programs Branch.
"This was the first actual air load certification we've done, of all the previous ADAPT engagements," Hanson said. "That's what makes it unique."
Two weeks of classroom instruction and hands-on training enabled 25 of 31 students to earn U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command Form 9 certification, significantly augmenting the Uganda land force's air deployment capability, while developing greater interoperability with U.S. military forces, Hanson said.
The ADAPT program, developed to enhance the force projection capabilities of African militaries, is managed by the USARAF G-4 staff. Its aim is to bridge the gap between limited deployment capacity and the need to provide forces in support of peacekeeping or humanitarian relief operations, Hanson said.
"We're building capacity for people to deploy, to do their own missions," he said.
Even when the training doesn't lead to actual U.S. Air Force certification, as it did this time in Uganda, it contributes to an enhanced deployment capacity for the land force involved, Hanson said.
"That's the intent. They can't do the certification, but they can continue to train their own people. Then we back off and they continue to do that," he said.
The program is a Title 22 tactical logistics engagement funded by the U.S. Department of State, and focuses on African countries that contribute troops to peacekeeping operations, Hanson said.
Training is executed in four installments in order to create a long-term, phased approach to building deployment capacity, Hanson said. Instructors take students from a general orientation to tactical deployment principles to an advanced level of practical proficiency.
Instructors for the UPDF course were sourced using the Request For Forces (RFF) process, Hanson said. Christensen was accompanied U.S. Army Capt. Jedmund Greene of 21st Theater Support Command's 16th Sustainment Brigade, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and three Air Force noncommissioned officers: Tech. Sgt. Venus Washington, Robbins Air Force Base, Ga.; Tech. Sgt. Byran Quinn, Pope Air Force Base, N.C.; and Senior Master Sgt. Anthony D. Tate of the Illinois Air National Guard.
"The training helped to strengthen the relationship with our Ugandan partners, and also helped them build a self-sustaining deployment capacity," Greene said. "I hope 21st TSC can increase its support to USARAF logistics theater security cooperation events in the future."
Army Africa's G-4 staff is presently working to synchronize ADAPT with the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program. A proof of concept joint training was conducted with ACOTA in Rwanda earlier this year, combining tactical- and support-staff training in logistics with the more complex operational techniques of force deployment and mobility, Hanson said.
The Rwanda training demonstrated the feasibility of combining available U.S. government resources to achieve the most efficient and focused effort to advance common foreign policy objectives with U.S. partners in Africa, he said.
To date, ADAPT missions have been funded for eight African countries. Previous training sessions have been conducted in Rwanda, Ghana and Burkina Faso as well as Uganda, and the number is likely to grow in coming years, Hanson said.
"The programs were identified as being of interest to several other countries during the Army Africa Theater Army Security Cooperation Conference, held in Vicenza in August," Hanson said.
The next planned ADAPT mission is for Phase I training in Botswana, scheduled for the first quarter of 2011, he said.