By Sgt. Melissa Stewart, Task Force Spartan Public AffairsNovember 3, 2011
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan, Nov. 3, 2011 -- Afghan National Security Forces have come a long way in the last few years, initially operating with little to no professional training in tactics and logistics, to what they are today -- a strong force that continues to improve.
Vehicle mechanics with Combined Task Force Spartan's 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, are contributing to the further development and stability of the Afghan security forces in Kandahar province, by teaching the Afghan army mechanics how to perform their own maintenance and fix their own vehicles.
"On the first day we usually cover the Humvee, basic operating procedures, and a little bit of the maintenance on (the vehicles)," said Staff Sgt. Mark Lason, the shop foreman in Company F, 2-87 Infantry.
This is the third mechanic class that Lason has taught to the Afghan mechanics since he deployed six months ago. Normally he has a set class schedule and teaches his students the basics of military vehicle maintenance over the course of three days. His most recent class knew what they wanted to learn already.
"This class was different because they brought a list with them of things they wanted to (know) how to do," said Lason.
His students wanted to learn basic aspects about their vehicles that they never had the chance to learn before.
"They had a list of things; they wanted to learn how to fix the lights, they wanted to change the engine oil on both the Humvee and the (Ford) Ranger," said Lason.
Training the Afghan security forces in elements of logistics and maintenance is a step toward the army working independently from coalition forces. Lason is helping the Afghan army become more stable by providing them with the training they need to maintain their own equipment.
"They want to fix their own stuff, they just don't have the knowledge to do this yet," said Lason. "If they can fix their equipment they can keep it in the fight."
Many of the students have to travel from other districts to get to the class. They also only have three days to learn the basics of vehicle mechanics.
"The majority of them get the grasp of it and they really just want to maintain their own stuff," said Lason.
Despite the challenges the students face, they are very grateful for the information that is passed onto them, and are working to improve their skills as well as their units.
"We came here for this mechanic training and we learned some things," said Mohammad Nazer of Wayward Company, 10th Kandak, 205th Corps, a student in Lason's class. "I am very happy to be here," said Nazer.
The students graduated from the mechanic training, Oct. 19, at a graduation ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Pasab. Lt. Col. Gregory Anderson, commander of 2-87 Infantry, thanked them for their partnership with his battalion and their efforts to improve, and also presented them with certificates.
While the class is over, Lason hopes to do another class soon.
"I have fun with these guys, I get three days out of the month to work with it, I love it," said Lason.