Wednesday, June 13, 2007

British and American Troops help ANA in readiness

The Aghanistan National Army (ANA) are busy training and working towards the day when they may be able to defend Afghanistan on their own. It seems to be going well. The 205th Regional Security Assistance Command are quite capable and are making sure of this. They are making sure that the ANA has the supplies they need and that the British are teaching them the American ways to run an Army. I like this.

ANA continues to train, lead with support of Soldiers.

Sgt. LeeAnn Lloyd
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

CAMP TOMBSTONE, Afghanistan - Making sure the Afghan National Army is properly equipped with the logistics and supplies it needs to conduct operations throughout the country can be a difficult task, but a team from the 205th Regional Security Assistance Command is up to the challenge.

The 3rd Brigade Logistics Support Team here works day in and day out to make sure the ANA’s 3rd Kandak, 205th “Hero” Corps, is taken care of so those ANA troops can go out and take care of their own. The LST also serves as background support to British Operational Mentoring Liaison Team, whose direct mission is to teach and mentor ANA Soldiers about Western doctrine.

“Essentially our mission is to provide the ANA [with] what they need supply wise, and to ensure the British are teaching them American doctrine,” Army Capt. Matthew Blackwelder, supply officer with the 3-205th said.

Blackwelder said the thought strikes many as odd: Why would British Soldiers teach American doctrine to the Afghan Army? The answer is simply that the War on Terrorism remains a multinational effort as Afghanistan moves toward a state of peace and prosperity.

“By and large, the British way of doing things is much like [ours]. Their standing operating procedures do not differ dramatically from ours, but the terminology is different … So sometimes you just have to cut through the different vernacular to get to where you’re going,” Blackwelder noted.

Maintaining doctrinal continuity is a vital part of providing solid mentorship to the ANA, according to Army Maj. Marc Daniels, the 3-205th operations officer.

“The ANA have subscribed to our doctrine. What that means is you can’t teach them one type of doctrine down here in the 205th, and then be able to go back up to the 207th or the 209th and teach those Soldiers different doctrine. We are trying to establish continuity across the board, so the ANA can function with any kandak (similar to U.S. company size) throughout the country and the same standards still apply, regardless of the location of the Soldier,” he said.

The willingness to learn, coupled with the tenacity of Afghan soldiers, never ceases to amaze Blackwelder.

“Tactically, they know how to fight, and they’re not afraid to fight. They are tough. They are very willing to go out and do what needs to get done,” Blackwelder said.

Daniels recalled a recent event when their 3-205 LST supply convoy was hit with an IED, and the ANA were right there to help move supplies out of the damaged vehicle. They also proved themselves during that event when an escalation of enemy forces in the area attacked with indirect fire. Daniels said the ANA dismounted their vehicles and charged into fields without hesitation. The ANA were successful in detaining eight insurgents that day, even after one of their own vehicles hit a mine and was disabled.

“The ANA, they reacted very well. They reacted exactly as they were supposed to in a situation like that,” he noted.

The knowledge that the ANA has of the terrain and local villages plays a vital part in ensuring the security of ISAF forces.

“This is their country, they know the ground. In fact, after that ambush, they ended up pointing things out that made me wish I had included them in the planning process. There are things I may have picked up on if I had one of them with me leading the convoy,” Daniels said.

One thing that seems evident to the LST is that the ANA has the ambition necessary to perform the missions that ensure the security of their people.

“When it comes to fighting and being warriors, these guys are all over it,” Daniels said.

LSTs throughout Afghanistan will continue to provide the support necessary for soldiers of the ANA to sustain operations, because they know that one day, the ANA will be able to handle it on their own. The Soldiers of the 3-205th LST have seen first-hand how the ANA is capable of fighting the good fight as their potential continues to shine through with every mission.

Photo - With the help of an interpreter convoy leaders discuss hand signals prior to a mission in Sangin Vallry, Helmand Province. Photo by Sgt. LeeAnn Lloyd.

Source: DoD Daily News-2. Have a great day, and to those of you who are serving, "THANK YOU, and God bless you!"

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