FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM, Afghanistan --
Soldiers with the 5th Kandak of the Afghan National Army, and Marines and sailors with the Embedded Partnering Team, Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) conducted a routine combat logistics patrol to Forward Operating Base Jackson, Afghanistan, April 1, 2011.
The mission was to resupply the 2nd Kandak of the Afghan National Army, but also served as a training exercise for the ANA.
“Because this is a logistics kandak, the priority is training the drivers,” said Maj. David H. Mills, the officer in charge for the EPT. “A person can graduate a driver’s course, but once he’s actually out on the road and has to drive through the wadis and the terrible terrain they’re driving on, that’s the biggest test.”
The 5th Kandak soldiers have completed classes on driving skills, vehicle maintenance, medical training and communication equipment.
“This is the practical application part of the training,” said Staff Sgt. Travis J. Eslinger, the platoon sergeant of the EPT. “We’ve taught them basic convoy operations, and they know what they need to do. We’re just there to assist them, if they need it.”
The EPT led the convoy because they’re equipped with mine rollers, but all other aspects of the convoy were handled by the 5th Kandak.
“If they get stuck, the wrecker operator, who we’ve trained, recovers the vehicle,” said Mills. “Even if one of our mine rollers gets blown up, their wrecker will pick it up, put it in a truck and keep moving.
“They even have their own medics,” Mills added. “We’ve taught them the same things Marines go through to become combat lifesavers.”
All of the training paid off during this convoy. With a successful resupply mission to FOB Jackson and a backhaul of three vehicles, the ANA soldiers showed they’re learning how to properly conduct a combat logistic patrol.
“You can especially see improvement during missions,” Mills said. “You see the guys that still need work, but then you see the ones that are doing much better.”
The EPT will continue to train with the ANA until they’re ready to do convoys on their own.
“By the time we leave, our goal is for them to do this run [to FOB Jackson] by themselves,” Mills concluded.