Soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA) are either busy defending their country or learning new skills. A group of ANA soldiers recently completed training in vehicle recovery in Helmand.
The course was organised by the Security Forces Advise and Assist Team (SFAAT) at Camp Leatherneck.
The SFAAT has a mission to advise and assist Afghan National Security Forces as they transition from being partnered with coalition forces to being able to operate on their own. The team has been working with the Afghan soldiers for the past several months, building strong relationships and a vehicle maintenance programme.
“This class builds on their abilities to recover vehicles from the battlefield,” said Daniel Mihalcik, maintenance officer, SFAAT. “We are teaching them the proper ways to hook up their winches, their cables, and using proper and safe techniques to pull out vehicles and bring them back to the kandak.”
When this team of advisors arrived in August 2013, the Afghan soldiers had a very little experience in repairing the vehicles. “We taught them how the engines work and how to repair everything on a vehicle. Their confidence and knowledge has developed to the point where it overflows into their ability to do technical recoveries,” said Mihalcik
The Afghan soldiers have proved to be quick-learners. “We pulled out the first engine, showed them how to do it and told them we would pull out two more the following day. When we came back the next day, they were already out,” said Corporal Nathan Pilla, mechanic advisor. “After that, we realised they understand and learn quickly, so we took a step back. I think it works a lot better that way; the only guidelines I give them are to take their time, don’t break anything and do it the safest way possible, other than that it’s their show.”