News: Drill sergeants become trainees to prepare for deployment
Story by Sgt. Cassandra Monroe
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - In preparation for an upcoming deployment, the drill sergeants of Detachment 119, 108th Training Command have traded in their roles as drill sergeants to become trainees.
The monthlong training will prepare the soldiers to support a mission in Afghanistan where they will work closely with NATO forces and the Afghan Local Police in an effort to hand over some responsibilities to the Afghans. The drill sergeants, many who have police backgrounds, will train the ALP as part of ongoing coalition stability operations.
In order to accomplish their mission, the drill sergeants must know how to say and understand basic, conversational and directional words and phrases. Recently, the detachment received Dari familiarization training in order to be mission ready.
“This is a short familiarization course, so the soldiers will be able to get a flavor of the language,” said Abdul Latif, a Dari and Pashto language instructor with the Defense Language Institute and Kabul, Afghanistan, native.
“By giving them different pieces of information as we move on during the course, on the last day these pieces will come together and the soldiers will be surprised what they can do with the language,” he said.
The training won’t make the drill sergeants of Detachment 119 experts in Dari, but it will give them the confidence and ability to make a lasting impression on the ALP.
“I’ve never studied the Afghan language at all and this weeklong course won’t get us fluent in the language, but we will be able to pick up some phrases to be able to use and understand what they’re saying,” said Staff Sgt. Jesus Rivas, a combat engineer and drill sergeant with the 108th TC, and a Laredo, Texas, native. “The training will help in the long run to build rapport with our counterparts over in Afghanistan.”
Rivas said the unit will conduct meetings with key leaders, advise and assist the ALP and provide a helpful presence in Afghanistan, which will directly impact the stability of the region.
And for Lt. Col. John Germann, detachment commander, effective communication with the Afghan counterparts is crucial to mission success.
“It will be similar to training police officers at an academy in the United States, but over in Afghanistan,” said Germann, the commander of the Detachment 119, 108th TC, and a Sedan, Kan., native. “We’ll advise them on how to train. The language is a part of their culture and it’s a way we communicate what we want to do so we have to understand them if we want to be effective at accomplishing our mission.”
Upon completion of the language course, the unit will spend about two to three more weeks training on Army warrior tasks before they begin their NATO mission. Although they only have a week in the language course, some soldiers know the training will prove to be beneficial.