KABUL, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Oct. 5, 2010) -- With a formal ceremony and live fire demonstration of the D-30 Howitzer, the Afghan National Army officially opened the Artillery Branch School at the Kabul Military Training Center, Oct. 4.The school will serve as the foundation for the professionalization of the ANA artillery branch.In addition to opening the new branch school and the awesome display of firepower demonstrated in the artillery live fire exercise, the new school will officially be partnering with the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Okla.This pioneering partnership between the ANA and the Fires COE will serve as a model of collaboration and outreach between the professionals of the Fires COE and the newly formed Afghan Artillery Branch.This initiative also showcases the professionalism of the Fires Center and will provide opportunities for instructor exchanges, professional development exchanges via VTC and student staff group partnerships with the equivalent Afghan student staff groups.According to Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, commanding general of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, the opening of the artillery branch school marks the ninth branch school to be opened in this past year. The final three schools are scheduled to open in the coming months."The opening of the Afghan Artillery Branch School is another example of the significant progress that has been made here in Afghanistan since NATO Training Mission stood up in November 2009," Caldwell said. "It is also fitting that the Fires Center of Excellence has once again set a new standard of excellence by establishing the first-ever branch school partnership between the U.S. Army and the Afghan National Army."The artillery school will offer nine different courses for ANA soldiers in the ranks of E-1 through O-4. Courses include the artillery captains career course, the artillery basic officer course, three basic courses, three squad leader courses, and a platoon sergeant course.Course instruction is broken down into three key disciplines: fire direction, fire support and guns. Additionally, students will receive instruction on artillery tactics, command leadership and management, gun-mounted vehicle movement in battery formation, radio procedures, map reading and navigation.The ANA Artillery School will also incorporate literacy training into each course, with students receiving about 68 hours of literacy and numeracy training.The school will train more than 2,000 soldiers next year in the artillery field. Each course will be led by an Afghan instructor, with coalition support in the short term. By early 2011, all courses of instruction will be given by the Afghans.