50 graduate Fatima Girls High School

Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)

Polish and US Forces bond through weapons

Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)

TF Duke Soldiers volley for peace

U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)

Nurgaram District leaders electrify Nangaresh schools

Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)

10th CAB Soldiers bring communications to Bagram’s east side

U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)

ANA, Red Bulls search Parwai during Operation Brass Monkey

An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)

Female engagement teams trained to aid communication with Afghan women

U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)

ANA, TF Storm break trail, make difference in Kharwar

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)

Ky. ADT II begins Panjshir sheep parasite project

Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)

Engineer Soldiers deliver aid to Afghans

An Afghan carrying a child approaches U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Peter Moeller of Atkins, Iowa, a medic with Task Force Red Bulls, for humanitarian aid at Qale-Mussa Pain Middle School (click for more)

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KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 1st Lt. Patrick Tuffy, a platoon leader with Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Fires Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, and a native of Highland Falls, N.Y., explains basic map reading to Afghan National Army soldiers at Forward Operating Base Clark, Afghanistan, March 26. The ANA soldiers attended a nine-week course in basic artillery. The objective of the class was to enable ANA soldiers to fire direct and indirect fire missions without the help of coalition counterparts. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Tobey White, Task Force Duke Public Affairs)


KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan — In an open field, three howitzer D-30s are covered by a tarp. In a building next to them, several Afghan National Army soldiers lean over a map learning basic map reading skills with the help of U.S. Army Soldiers.

Working with the U.S. Army, the ANA soldiers learned basic artillery skills at Forward Operating Base Clark, Afghanistan, to help them become proficient and able to fight independent of coalition forces.

For six days a week over nine weeks, ANA soldiers met with U.S. Army Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Fires Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, to learn the ins and outs of the howitzer D-30. On March 26, they learned about contour lines, elevation and the importance of forward observers understanding map reading, said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Patrick Tuffy, a platoon leader with Alpha Battery, 3rd Bn., 321st FA Regt. and a native of Highland Falls, N.Y.

The class was designed to teach ANA soldiers the three basic skill sets of artillery. Instructors broke the soldiers into three groups: the forward observers — the eyes; the fire directions center — the brains; and the gun line — the brawn, Tuffy said.
The objective of the class was to enable ANA soldiers to fire direct and indirect fire missions without the help of their coalition counterparts, said U.S. Army Sgt. Gerald Knighten, a section chief with the 3rd Bn., 321st FA Regt., in charge of the gun line portion of training and a native of Fayetteville, N.C.

The 3rd Bn., 321st FA Regt., originally an M-777 Howitzer artillery battery, faced the monumental task of relearning the D-30 Howitzer to teach the ANA soldiers.

The 777 differs from the D-30 because it is a newer model has a digital fire-control system and is a little more accurate.

The D-30 Howitzer, by contrast, has no computer system and requires manual computations, Tuffy said.

That meant hitting the books and brushing up on the skill sets required to operate the older system, Tuffy said.

In addition to map reading, the course covered basic artillery knowledge, sights and crew drills. It was important for the ANA soldiers to understand job titles, chain of command and where to be at any given time, Knighten said.

“If we’re not here, they need to be able to run the operation smoothly,” he said.

To really get their point across, the U.S. Army Soldiers had to see matters through their counterparts eyes, said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Williams, a senior adviser for the course from the 1st Bn., 6th FA Regt., 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, and a native of Los Angeles, Calif.

“We don’t want to make them the United States Army,” Williams said. “We want to help them do things their way, not make them do it our way.”

They did that by advising them and not just talking at them. The instructors asked them how they wanted to operate and then offered suggestions on how to make things better, Williams said.

Although the language barrier was the biggest obstacle in teaching the ANA soldiers about artillery, they are beginning to understand the concepts, Knighten said.

For most classes, the U.S. Army Soldiers made sure an interpreter attended who had a basic grasp of artillery.

When there was no interpreter available, they used translations. The U.S. Army Soldiers begin to pick up the language and vice versa, Knighten said.

“It makes me a better person to understand their language,” Knighten said. “They help me with their language, and I help them with mine. We meet in the middle.”

One ANA soldier, Sgt. Sayed Ahmad, said he bettered his understanding of artillery by the end of class.

“We need to learn this so in the coming time when coalition forces are no longer here, we will be ready for every place and every job,” Ahmad said. “This way we can fight the enemy, and we can defend our country.”



Last Updated on Sunday, 03 April 2011 02:36


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Coalition forces engage insurgents in Kapisa

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Coalition forces killed seven insurgents in defensive operations in the Alah Say District, Kapisa Province, eastern Afghanistan, March 29.

Coalition forces and aircraft responded to an insurgent attack. Four insurgents were killed by air strike and three were killed by direct fire from coalition forces.

All rounds were reported safe and on target. There were no reports of injuries or damages to civilians in the area.

ANSF, ISAF begin major operation in Laghman valley

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Afghan National Security Forces, partnered with U.S. Task Forces Red Bulls and Phoenix and French Task Force La Fayette, began operations in Galuch Valley, Laghman Province, March 25.

Soldiers of the Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps, Afghan National Police’s 202nd Shamshod and the U.S. Army’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, TF Red Bulls, supported by the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Phoenix, conducted an air assault into the valley to remove enemy forces. Battle Group Richelieu, TF La Fayette, provided artillery support from Kapisa Province.

While conducting operations, the forces found multiple weapons caches including assorted rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, Russian rockets, materials to make homemade explosives, various other ordnances and communication equipment.  

While moving through the valley, unit leadership met with village elders to discuss the security situation and to allow them to give up insurgents still in the area.

The operation will assist the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in establishing the valley as a new district giving the Afghan people in the area freedom from the insurgency.   

President Hamid Karzai approved the creation of the additional district and hopes the new district will help improve the security of the area and support the reconstruction effort.

Mohammad Iqbal Azizi, Laghman Province governor, held a press conference March 7 announcing the establishment of a new district located in the valley.

ANSF, TF Bastogne continue operations in Kunar


KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and coalition troops from Task Force Bastogne continued operations in the Shigal District March 18 after clearing the village of Lawsin and the surrounding area.

Afghan leaders, coalition forces look forward

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Leaders from across eastern Afghanistan attended a security conference March 9 at Forward Operating Base Thunder, the home of the Afghan Army’s 203rd Thunder Corps.