KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Army News Service, March 15, 2012) -- At the motor pool here soldiers with the Afghan National Army got some important training in forklift maintenance from their coalition counterparts.

It was American mechanics with the 209th Aviation Support Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, who recently conducted a maintenance training session with their counterparts from the 205th Corps, Afghan National Army, known as the ANA.

The joint maintenance training was performed in order to build upon the skill and experience of Afghan soldiers with the goal of them gaining enough experience to eventually perform maintenance independently.

"It is really good to work with the coalition forces," said Afghan Sgt. Mohammad Rajab. "I get the experience I need to complete the tasks successfully from these training sessions."

During this training session, Rajab and Afghan Pvt. Monwar got hands-on experience with forklift cooling systems while working to replace the fuel injector pump.

"Since the 25th CAB started this training with 205th Corps mechanics, they have improved considerably," said Capt. Andrew Schlaf, Headquarters Support Company Commander, 209th ASB. "The mechanics had the knowledge to perform certain tasks; we aid them in applying the knowledge so they gain the experience needed to continue their own operations."

The first day of training is the conceptualization of the different systems on multiple vehicles. The intent is to have the ANA mechanics visualize or troubleshoot the vehicle as a whole and not just a specific section or system. The second day the soldiers apply what they learn.

"While working with coalition forces, I have the opportunity to learn something new each day," said Rajab. "Not only do I learn something from them, but they learn something from us too in each session."

The training event was one more step toward building confidence and independence in the soldiers of the Afghan Army.

"The ANA mechanics have come a long way from the beginning," said Belgian Senior Master Sgt. Bart Verhoeven, ANA logistics mentor with European Participating Air Forces. "Now, they are really close to being able to conduct maintenance operations without help from coalition forces."