KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Navy Lt. Mark Fetterman, Khowst Provincial Reconstruction Team engineer from Plymouth, Mass., stands on a hilly outcropping in Bak district during a foot (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers from 1st Coy, 3rd Kandak play with village children during a patrol through Sar Mast Kheyl, Zormat District Jan. 16. (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An MRAP remains idle as construction efforts surround Combat Outpost Bak and the nearby district center. ISAF, ANP and ANA members work together daily (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE – U.S. Army Spc. Kyle Oszczakiewicz, an infantryman with 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, from Trenton, N.J., scans for insurgents as 2nd Plt. receives (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Polish Battle Group A and Texas Army National Guard Ghazni ADT-IV conduct a village assessment of Pir Shabaz, a small village near Ghazni City, (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army Operations Sgt. Maj. Akhtar Muhammad takes questions from new recruits during Basic Warrior Training at Forward Operating Base Thunder Jan. 22. (click for more)
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Michael Scarsbrook, an infantryman with Task Force Ironman, from Iowa Falls, Iowa, looks down on a spot in Tupac Jan. 21, (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Tyrik L. Holmes, assigned to 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Thunder, (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class David Davis, from Moore, Okla., the platoon sergeant of the 2-45th ADT’s security force, leads the rear security element (click for more)
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Pfc. Corey Vanotegham, an infantry radio telephone operator from Victor, Iowa, with TF Ironman, smiles as he stands beside a Holstein cow (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The newest members of the Afghan National Army traveled to Forward Operating Base Thunder, home of the ANA 203rd Thunder Corps, to attend the Afghan version of basic training Jan. 15.
The initial batch consisted of 600 recruits to attend Basic Warrior Training; by March the numbers are expected to double.
Soldiers from the 4th Platoon of the 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, stationed at Forward Operating Base Lightning advise Afghan instructors and train new recruits.
“Nothing prepares you to train like this,” said senior adviser, U.S. Army Capt. Phil Durkin of Sparta, N.J. “This is not the American Army, they have their own standards.”
The adjustment for the Afghans is difficult as well. Afghan recruits must adjust to both life in the military and working with the American servicemembers who partner with Afghan instructors.
“It’s the first time many of these guys have worn western clothes, been around Americans or visited an army base,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Hannah of Fort Worth, Texas, an instructor who trains with the ANA 203rd Thunder Corps’ 3rd Basic Warrior Training Company.
Afghan soldiers learn the same basic skills taught to U.S. recruits. They are locked down in sparkling barracks. Each cot is meticulously made; shoes, towels and sandals are lined up evenly.
“It’s pretty much the same as American basic training, but the Afghan instructors are a lot more, ‘hands-on’,” said advisor U.S. Army Cpl. Brandon Metzer of Colorado Springs, Colo. Afghan instructors do not do a lot of yelling, but they are quick to grab hold of new recruits and get them moving in the right direction.
ANA Operations Sgt. Maj. Akhtar Muhammad personally trains many of the recruits.
“I feel good about these guys. They are the best I have worked with,” said Muhammad, who has trained more than 58 Afghan companies in the last six months.
ANA Pvt. Gul Nazim of Kapisa Province is excited about the training he is receiving and expressed pride in his decision to the join the Afghan army.
“I decided that I must help my country,” he said.
Nazim is the first person in his family to join the army. He claims that he is ready to serve anywhere the army sends him, but hopes to serve with the Afghan infantry. He, like Muhammad, is optimistic.
“We will have a great future and the Afghan army will be strong if we continue to train like this,” said Nazim.
The ANA continues to grow each day. American and Afghan Soldiers serving with the 203rd Thunder Corps appear determined to make the Army a large and capable fighting force as well.
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