Thursday, March 15, 2012
Africa: U.S. Army Africa, Tennessee Army National Guard personnel journey to Uganda
UGANDA - Africa deployment assistance partnership teams from the U.S. Army Africa and Tennessee Army National Guard traveled to Uganda, Feb. 20 to Feb. 24 to conduct Phase I training for 27 members (17 Army and 10 Air Force) of the Uganda People's Defense Force.
ADAPT uses joint military traveling contact teams, such as the Tennessee Army National Guard, to conduct classroom instruction and hands-on training to introduce the host military to a range of deployment tasks, such as unit movement planning, hazardous material handling and compatibility, movement control basics, and air load planning to build host nation deployment capacity via a phased, long term approach.
During ADAPT Phase I personnel are taught how to prepare unit personnel, equipment and vehicles for air lift as well as plan the load plan for the transporting aircraft.
According to Army Lt. Col. Paul Webb, deputy chief, plans, exercises, programs and policies, this phase is very well received by African forces, and USARAF instructors have seen vast improvements in the performance of military personnel on this crucial deployment task.
“The Uganda students were very attentive and courteous during training and it was a genuine pleasure to be involved with such an eager group,” Webb said. “Both Lieutenant Colonel Scott Suchomski and Major Tony Miller [from the Tennessee National Guard] were excellent instructors and well prepared for training – I would highly recommend them both as instructors for future ADAPT events.”
Miller said he was constantly amazed at the Ugandans eagerness to learn.
“They were very proud of their country and the professionalism they displayed was unsurpassed,” Miller said. “I was fully expecting a capable group of students ready to participate in the class; however, I was surprised that by the end of the week we had developed close, personal relationships.
“I now consider many of the students as close friends and see them as a true partner in the profession of arms,” he said.
ADAPT bridges the gap between African nations with limited deployment capacity and its willingness to participate in peacekeeping operations/humanitarian relief operations.
Fostering these positive relationships between the U.S. and African military forces will increase deployment interoperability with U.S. forces in joint/combined operations, training and exercises.
“By the end of the week of instruction, I was honored to have been part of the ADAPT program and was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism of the Ugandan soldiers,” Suchomski said.
“During the hands-on portion of training, the UPDF soldiers did not hesitate to get their hands dirty during the portion of how to prepare a 463L pallet. They were constantly asking questions and provided me valuable feedback as to how we can improve training,” he said.
A keystone of the ADAPT program is that training is tailored to match an individual partners needs and capabilities.
According to Webb, USARAF training includes activities to establish an enduring deployment operations training capacity in each partner nation.
Overseeing the maintenance of trainer skills and refresher training as required are part of the long-term ADAPT program. USARAF continues to partner with countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Ghana, Burundi, and Togo, and is seeking to expand the program to other countries in the future.
Webb said that more than half of the peacekeepers in Africa are Africans and the United States has trained most of them via programs like ADAPT.
“The ADAPT program is a great opportunity not only from the aspect of the host countries, but for U.S. Army personnel,” Suchomski said.
“The UPDF soldiers were professional in every aspect and valued the training they received. I left Uganda with a great respect for the UPDF as a valuable partner with the U.S. Army and with many friendships – given the opportunity to participate in another ADAPT mission, I would go in a heartbeat,” he said.