PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Lt. Col. Dave Brown, the commander of the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, and a native of Dover, Del., talks with his Afghan National Army counterpart Col. Abdul Sami, commander of the Combat Service Support, 5th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 203rd Corps at Combat Outpost Wilderness, Oct. 18. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tobey White, Task Force Duke Public Affairs)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (October 23, 2011) — It is never easy keeping soldiers equipped and ready for battle, but the growing logistical partnership between the Afghan National Army and Coalition forces make the process of outfitting soldiers easier and more efficient.
For 10 months, the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division have partnered with the Combat Service Support, 5th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 203rd Corps, ANA and their U.S. counterparts, , to provide logistical support to Afghan troops throughout Paktya and Khowst provinces.
“We’ve really moved beyond partnership to more of a mentorship,” said Lt. Col. Dave Brown, Dover, Del. and commander of the 201st BSB. “It’s nice to see the Afghans do for themselves,” he added.
Brown appointed U.S. Army Capt. Roger Snead, the 201st BSB’s Combined Action officer in charge and a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., to work hand-in-hand with the Kandak to help them develop a self sufficient, efficient logistical operation.
Snead volunteered for the job because he saw a way to make a significant difference in the war effort.
“I saw this as an opportunity to lead the way for the ANA to be self sufficient which would in turn lead us to withdrawing,” Snead said.
Sneed and his eight-man team meet regularly with the ANA, help them conduct training and supervise their operations, he said.
For the first time, the Afghan soldiers conducted sling load training, which consists of hooking supplies underneath a helicopter for the purposes of airlifting them to a specific destination. At the end of the course the newly-trained soldiers successfully supported ANA missions during Operation Maiwan III, a large-scale joint operation conducted May.
“There were a limited number of accessible roads during Maiwan III so our students hooked supplies up to a CH-47 helicopter and helped support the ANA troops in the field,” Snead said.
They also taught a class in how to requisition equipment from the Ministry of Defense driving, first aid, preventative medicine and radio operations.
“Everything we’re doing is for the good of Afghanistan and will prepare us for the future,” Sami said.
The ANA take care of their own missions, Brown explained. They perform their own pre-combat inspections, brief their own missions and roll out with no coalition support.
“There have been a lot of changes,” said ANA Col. Abdul Sami, 5th Kandak Commander. “They’ve really helped. We now have trained drivers and Soldiers who write well.”
Though a lot of progress has been made, there remain several challenges that still need to be conquered, Brown said.
“The key to ANA success is logistics and sustainment,” Brown added. “The next step is to link the national logistics support down to tactical logistics support to ensure soldiers have what they need to conduct operations.”