CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Soldiers with 215th Corps Logistics Battalion, Afghan National Army are not only better able to keep their vehicles running over the rugged Afghan terrain, but they are better prepared to encounter the insurgents’ most common weapon: Improvised Explosive Devices.
Marines and sailors with the Embedded Partnering Team, 2nd Maintenance Battalion (-) (Reinforced), 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) provided the necessary assets to conduct a mine and IED awareness course, and a Humvee course for nearly 160 soldiers aboard Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan, May 09, 2011.
“Right now we are partnered with the 215th CLB to conduct operations and training,” said Capt. Patrick Ross, from Hamden, Conn., the EPT officer in charge. “We have two main functions right now, first is to facilitate training for the ANA soldiers by pairing them with the [U.S.] experts in each individual skill they are expected to learn.
“Second, we go on operations with them to offer assistance or guidance if necessary,” Ross added.
During the first class, Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division (Fwd.) taught the soldiers the characteristics of IEDs as well as how to positively identify one during a search.
“The training consists of IEDs, how they are made and what they are made of,” explained Lance Cpl. Dustin J. Wilbands, from Baldwin, Ga., a combat engineer with 2nd CEB. “The training had basic practical application so they can practice and learn what to look for if they are searching a house or an individual.”
Not long after the IED class, Marines with the Motor Vehicle Incidental Driver School held a class on the Humvee. The two-week course the soldiers are currently undergoing will familiarize them with every detail of the Humvee, a new vehicle to most Afghan soldiers.
“This is a new tactical vehicle for them, and all the knowledge we are going to give them is going to really help them in future missions,” explained Staff Sgt. James M. Symonette, from Crestview, Fla., the MVIDS licensing director with 2nd MLG (Fwd.). “The course is going to teach them how to drive and handle the vehicles in different scenarios and situations.
“We don’t only tell them what everything is or how the vehicle operates. We get in depth on each component and procedure, and make sure they really understand,” Symonette added. “They are going to receive a lot of hands on training to make sure they can safely operate these vehicles.”
Currently the troops with the 215th CLB have the responsibility of sustaining Afghan infantry soldiers operating in southwestern Afghanistan. The Marines and sailors with the EPT will continue to support them, until they are self sufficient and experienced enough to operate completely independently.