LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (3/21/12) – National Guard Soldiers from the Illinois National Guard's 661st Engineer Company and the Texas Army National Guard's 236th Engineer Company presented certificates of completion to 26 Afghan National Army soldiers at Forward Operating Base Shank, Feb. 6.
The ANA soldiers from the 4/203rd Corps Engineer Company recently completed several months of basic horizontal and vertical engineer training with the 7th Engineer Battalion, from Fort Drum, N.Y.
Army Sgt. Jarrod Brummett, the 661st non-commissioned officer in charge, said the joint-coalition training was a major success. "When we first started training and working with the ANA soldiers, some had never worked with coalition forces before. They were excited to start operating the equipment and using the tools."
"I'm excited to see the end-state of this partnership, which is an ANA engineer company that will be able to plan and execute their own projects and missions," Brummett said. "What can be a better deployment than that? Helping other soldiers accomplish things they may have never had the opportunity to do otherwise."
During the certificate presentation ceremony, many of the U.S. Soldiers who were part of the training process had the opportunity to say a few words of encouragement to their fellow ANA soldiers.
Army Cpl. Alexander Serpas, a vertical team leader from the 236th, said, "I am proud to be part of the transition process and give Afghanistan back to the Afghan people."
In attendance were ANA colonel Gul and lieutenant colonel Malikidin, who also offered their own words of wisdom as the partnership program moves into its next phase.
The training was originally planned in two separate phases where horizontal training would be conducted first followed by vertical training. As many missions changed, so did the partnership training program.
Early on, it became apparent that there would not be sufficient time to execute this training as planned. In an effort to complete the training, Brummett moved his team to another base and added two additional Soldiers to help execute the two training programs concurrently.