CAMP SHORABAK, Afghanistan --
As part of an effort to enhance the Afghan National Army’s senior-enlisted leadership abilities, Marines hosted a leadership seminar aboard Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan, Feb. 26.
Approximately 50 enlisted soldiers with the ANA’s 5th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 215th Corps attended the seminar, which was hosted by Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 3’s Embedded Partnering Team. The personnel of 5/1/215 are ANA logistics soldiers responsible for supporting several ANA infantry units throughout Helmand province.
During the class, senior enlisted Marines with CLB-3, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) gave instructional periods on leadership principles, physical fitness and basic hygiene.
According to 1st Sgt. William J. Banks, senior enlisted mentor, EPT, CLB-3, 2nd MLG (FWD), the seminar’s focus was to instill ANA noncommissioned officers with fundamental leadership principles to include accountability, discipline and proper knowledge of their role as enlisted leaders. The level of experience and knowledge the senior-enlisted Marine instructors can provide is paramount for the ANA’s development.
“I feel we need to have more of these [seminars] because it’s a prime opportunity to provide key leadership training while still fulfilling our operational requirements,” said Banks, a native of New York City. “I believe the leadership-mentoring [sessions] are as important as anything we do here – operationally or otherwise. Leadership training is the basic foundation which allows for smooth, successful operational ability. The end-state of this seminar is to provide ANA enlisted personnel with the ability to make sound, rational decisions in the absence of their officers. I believe this seminar will help instill a sense of pride in 5/1/215’s enlisted leaders, which is instrumental in maintaining a structured chain-of-command.”
According to one attendee, ANA 1st Sgt. M. Mangan, Headquarters and Service Company first sergeant, 5/1/215, the leadership seminar will benefit soldiers of 5/1/215 as they continue to develop as a unit capable of conducting independent operations.
“Since I joined the ANA, we have mentors to train, teach and provide equipment for us,” said Mangan, through an interpreter. “I believe the ANA is capable of operating independently, but I want coalition forces to stay in Afghanistan until we can stand on our own feet and defend our country. One day, I want all the ANA units to be able to help themselves.”
Since January, CLB-3’s EPT has taken a more “hands-off” approach with providing operational assistance in an effort to prepare the ANA for independent operations. Though CLB-3’s EPT will continue to mentor and train their ANA counterparts, their ultimate goal is to enable 5/1/215’s independent operations. In fact, many of the ANA soldiers attending the leadership seminar were also recent graduates of an eight-week combat logistics training program which focused on un-partnered operations.
In the months CLB-3’s EPT was mentoring their ANA counterparts, 5/1/215’s operational and leadership abilities significantly increased, said Lt. Col. Henry W. Lutz III, commanding officer, CLB-3, 2nd MLG (FWD).
“[Since October] I have seen 5/1/215 grow in their ability to conduct combat logistics patrols and in their individual soldier skills,” said Lutz, while addressing attendees of the leadership seminar. “Leadership is the most important aspect of being a soldier because it is the ability to follow orders -- and to eventually give them to others -- that will allow you to achieve any mission you are assigned. As [CLB-3’s EPT and 5/1/215] move together as partners in the coming months, it is important we both grow in our leadership skills so we can collectively prepare Afghanistan to defend itself without assistance from Marines.”