Video: Cramming sessions begin with Afghan troops

By JOSH SMITH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 15, 2013

FORWARD OPERATING BASE JOYCE, Afghanistan — With the majority of NATO advising teams in volatile Kunar province scheduled to depart by the end of the summer, U.S. troops in the area are trying to squeeze in all the training possible with Afghan security forces.

First Lt. Charles Gray, a member of a 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division Security Force Assistance Team that partners with an Afghan National Army kandak, or battalion, says his team has been focusing on training junior Afghan army noncommissioned officers in basic soldiering skills.

NCOs in the still-developing Afghan army often lack the years of experience common among their NATO counterparts.

In an effort to help NCOs better train their own troops, Gray and other members of the Security Force Assistance Team have conducted classes on such topics as map reading and medical aid.

A more recent training session was held at the base’s firing range and was designed to help Afghan troops hone their ability to train themselves.

“When we get to do hands-on training with the kandak soldiers ... it’s translated to them at their company level down to the soldier,” Gray said. “So, it’s good to see that they’re taking it ... it doesn’t stop there and they go ahead and teach their soldiers.”


First Lt. Jon Walatkiewicz, an adviser with a 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division Security Force Assistance Team, helps Afghan National Army soldier Hayakhan adjust and fire his M-16 rifle during training at Forward Operating Base Joyce in eastern Afghanistan.

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