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Afghan National Army soldiers with the Helmand Regional Military Training Center fire M240B machine guns during a training range at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan, Aug. 17, 2017. More than 60 instructors at the RMTC are undergoing a four-week train-the-trainer course in preparation for an upcoming operational readiness cycle. U.S. Marine advisors with Task Force Southwest are enhancing the infantry knowledge and skills of the instructors to more effectively teach and train soldiers throughout the eight-week ORC. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Lucas Hopkins)

Photo by Sgt. Lucas Hopkins

RMTC soldiers refine instructing skills; prep for upcoming ORC

20 Aug 2017 | Sgt. Lucas Hopkins II Marine Expeditionary Force

U.S. Marine advisors with Task Force Southwest are developing the teaching skills of Afghan National Army soldiers with the Helmand Regional Military Training Center throughout a four-week train-the-trainer course at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan.

In late July, approximately 600 ANA soldiers with 2nd Kandak, 4th Brigade, 215th Corps completed the operational readiness cycle, an eight-week course focusing on building the lethality of its students to help fight insurgency within the province. The advisors have since been building the RMTC instructors’ knowledge and abilities to make the upcoming group of soldiers even more effective.

“This class has been really good for everyone at the RMTC because we are increasing our professionalism,” said ANA Capt. Mohammed Dawud, the officer in charge of heavy weapons instruction. “I was good at teaching before this course, but now I can do it on my own, without the assistance from the advisors.”

More than 60 instructors are undergoing the train-the-trainer evolution, whose various skillsets include small-unit tactics, urban operations, heavy weapons such as mortars and machine guns as well as developing leadership in junior officers.

“There’s no doubt [the next class] will be better,” said U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Steven Whiteman, an advisor with the Task Force. “Over the last four weeks we’ve had a break between both kandaks coming through, and we’ve really had an opportunity to focus on the instruction and focus on the delivery and design of the instruction. The Afghan instructors are twice as good as they were a month ago.”

The advisors implemented a crawl-walk-run method, at first teaching the Afghan instructors themselves, before having them teach a class on their specific skill and providing feedback. Heavy weapons instructors had an opportunity to conduct a range with their respective weapons, allowing them to gain a better understanding of handling and firing techniques prior to passing the knowledge onto students.

“Through the instruction and live-fire ranges, everyone here has done their best to improve. I have learned a lot from the advisors, and now I can pass that information to our students,” said Dawud.

In early September, 6th Brigade, 1st Kandak is scheduled to begin the second ORC with Task Force Southwest as the advisory unit. The progress of the RMTC instructors will better equip these soldiers, in both body and mind, to fight the enemy and enhance security and stability throughout the region.

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