News: Soldiers and Seabees train critical ANA engineer brigade
By Chief Petty Officer Barry Wood
Joint Task Force EBAAT
CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan – Dec. 7 is historic day in our nation’s military history, when the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor in 1941. For those service members stationed in Hawaii, like the 14th Construction Management Team (CMT), it is all more real with Pearl Harbor in view most days.
Now, with the 14th CMT forward deployed to Afghanistan, Dec. 7, again became an important day for them. Dec. 7 marked the start of the Afghan National Engineer Brigade (NEB) training mission. The 14th CMT, from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Two Eight (NMCB 28), from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, together create Task Force EBAAT (Engineering Brigade Advise and Assist Team).
To take advantage of every moment and use as much of it as training time, TF EBAAT took the training to the ANA Combined Fielding Center (CFC) and began construction training in conjunction with the shoot, move and communicate training the ANA soldiers were receiving at the time.
Seabees began teaching a two week basic carpentry, plumbing, and electrical. Going back to their own experiences with initial military training, they developed training platforms for each of the skills allowing for maximum interaction from the Afghan National Army (ANA) Soldiers, while remaining expeditionary in nature. The positive results have been getting notice from many stakeholders.
Lt. Col. Richard Collins, EBAAT Officer in Charge, described the early days, “After several months of planning and preparation, the basic vertical construction training provided to the SEK at the CFC marks the start of the NEB development mission for the Theater Engineer Brigade. I don't know who was more excited about the training - the Afghan soldiers who were receiving the training or the Seabees who were providing it.”
According to Master Sgt. Victor Jackson, “I’ve never seen anything like it, the level of enthusiasm, and the willingness to learn.”
Jackson, who is currently on his seventh combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, gained experience in training foreign forces during one of his previous deployments in Iraq.
The goals of this initial training were not only to begin the fundamental s of construction, but also to develop the necessary instructional skills for Seabees doing a mission unlike any other in their history.
Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Murray, a vertical construction adviser, said “The ANA have really embraced the training well beyond my expectations and just soak it up like a sponge. They know this training will bring a better life to Afghanistan, and for me, that’s what I came here to do.”
Seabees are scheduled to continue training the National Engineering Brigade through fall 2014.