SJ Airman helps train Afghan soldiers
By Senior Airman Stacia Zachary, Combined Security Transition Command
/ Published March 21, 2007
SOUTHWEST ASIA --
Coalition forces work hand-in-hand with the Afghan National Army to train Soldiers at the Kabul Military Training Center to enter the fight against terrorism and provide security for the Afghan people. One of Team Seymour's Airman, Senior Master Sgt. Richard Spaulding, is doing his part to help accomplish this mission.
At any given time, more than 10,000 Afghan trainees go through courses ranging from basic training to advanced individual skills.
"We are very pleased with our progress," said Afghan National Army Brig. Gen. Amin Wardak, KMTC commander of training. "In five years we have reestablished our army and begun standing on our own. We are proud to say that we now run most of our courses but we still rely on the expertise of coalition forces, such as the American (forces)."
One of the sections of training is weapons training. Soldiers are trained on D-30, mortars, small arms. Although the main issue of long rifle is the AK-47, the preferred weapon is the M-16. The United States has already transferred more than 1,000 of these weapons with the promise of more.
Recently, the addition of paper targets on the ranges has helped instructors teach the students about zeroing their weapons, accuracy and breathing techniques.
"The ANA is learning how to be proficient with their weapons, but it takes a lot of practice and proper training equipment," said Sergeant Spaulding, Training Assistance Group garrison sergeant major mentor deployed from the 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. "With the targets we are able to show them grouping and help them with iron sights. They are dedicated to learning and many are good marksmen."
Sergeant Spaulding works in logistics and supply by trade, but is currently filling an in-lieu of billet. He has had to learn different aspects of the military to better aid the training of the ANA.
"Working with the ANA has given me a greater appreciation for serving in the military," he said. "There is a greater sense of purpose when you are able to actually work side-by-side with the people who are your 'customer.' These men are not just serving in the army but putting their lives on the line everyday for their country. We are giving them the skills they need to be successful."
Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines like Sergeant Spaulding are helping shape the progress and success of the Afghan National Army and the security of their nation.
"We remain eternally grateful for the help the coalition forces have given our army," General Wardak said. "Without them, we would not be this far along or strong."