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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Destroyer, conducted M-16 rifle training with Afghan National Army Soldiers at Check Point Lion’s Den in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province, Dec. 8.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ben R. Salentine, of Colorado Springs, Colo., the platoon leader for 3rd platoon, Troop B, started the day by meeting with ANA 1st Lt. Rasul, platoon leader for 2nd company, 6th Kandak, to discuss the overall goals of the training.
“My goal for the future, for my soldiers, is to help them perform this job,” Rasul said.
“That’s why I’ve brought my unit down here today, to help your men train with the M-16,” Salentine replied.
According to Salentine, it is important to train the Afghan soldiers with the M-16 to modernize their military operations and to synchronize their combat prowess with the NATO forces they serve alongside.
Rasul said this was the first time his soldiers were getting in depth knowledge of the NATO-style weapons, which will eventually replace the ANA’s Soviet-era arsenal.
“Before, we had the oldest weapon,” Rasul said. “And now we have the professional weapon.”
Salentine’s soldiers were mostly hands-off during the training because ANA Sgt. Anwar had already taken charge of the class and was guiding his fellow soldiers through the training.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kristopher N. Moore, a section leader in Troop B from Joplin, Mo., watched over the 12 ANA soldiers while they disassembled M-16s, and lent a helping hand whenever his Afghan counterparts were struggling.
Moore noted that the Afghan solider leading the class was a reflection of a trend he has been seeing.
“I see the NCOs starting to take charge more,” he said. “Just a little bit ago he didn’t know anything about this weapon, now he’s training his men.”
This is exactly what the U.S. Soldiers are trying to accomplish.
Salentine said the goal behind this strategy is to create subject matter experts within the ANA that will lead to a higher level of understanding and efficiency in their training.
“The whole idea behind the technique we use to train the ANA is to further the development of their NCO corps,” he said.
According to Salentine, as training improves, so will the soldiers, resulting in a better ANA and a stronger Afghanistan.
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