News: Police Academy One
SHAH WALI KOT, Afghanistan - Although they don't get the privilege of wearing the round brown hats of drill sergeants, Soldiers from Task Force Buffalo, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, are dishing out their own version of Army Basic Combat Training to Afghan national police in Shah Wali Kot, Afghanistan.
The 10-day course covers the basics of military training, giving the ANP attendees knowledge for future operations and future training.
"The academy isn't just teaching basic skills and tasks," said 1st Lt. Daniel Boirum, commandant of the Shah Wali Kot Police Academy assigned to HHC, 1-17 Inf. Regt., 5/2 ID. "It gives these police a standard starting place and the knowledge that training and self improvement is a never ending, ongoing process for professional warriors."
During the initial partnering with the ANP, 1-17 Inf. Regt. leadership identified a need to improve the knowledge of their counterparts.
"We came up with a training plan and our operations officer sat with the district chief of police and went over something we thought they might need training on, and he already had ideas that he just needed help getting it together," 1-17 Inf. Regt. Commander Lt. Col. Jonathan Neumann said. "We can provide the instructors and some of the learning aides and he gives us the police. And really, it's a program of instruction that he helped design. Most of the things we teach here are things that he wanted his guys to have. We helped take his vision and take it to fruition."
After all of the plans were realized, the challenge of actually teaching the class began.
"The absolute biggest hindrance here is trying to get the subtle nuances of what we're trying to teach across in translation," said Staff Sgt. Ian Wilder, assistant instructor of the Shah Wali Kot Police Academy assigned to HHC, 1-17 Inf. Regt., 5/2 ID. "The other thing we ran into is that almost half of the group speaks Pashto and the other half speaks Dari."
In spite of the language barrier, the trainees showed a passion for learning.
"This class is doing an extremely good job. They are very eager, and when they do ask questions they're very in depth," said Wilder, a Braselton, Ga., native, "and what's nice is that a lot of times what they ask will be outside of the box. We'll teach them something and they will ask, 'Okay, well how can this apply in this situation?'"
One student in particular, Honor Graduate Jan Mohammad, an eight-year ANP veteran nicknamed "Senior" by instructors, took charge of the group and assisted in the training.
"We are uneducated people. We didn't know about anything, yet you are coming here to train us. We are learning about many things," said Mohammed, who has worked in the Shah Wali Kot District for six years. "Afghanistan was a backward country, and after twenty years of fighting, America wants to help the people of Afghanistan, and we are happy."
He says his duty to Afghanistan and his willingness to learn is very simple.
"I am from Afghanistan," Mohammad said. "If I don't come here, who will come to serve our country?"
Even with a passion for learning, the group faced logistical difficulties. While conducting live-fire drills, the school found out it did not have enough ammunition.
"The single thing that would make this class 100 times better would be if we could get [AK-47] ammo for these guys," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Beaudette, assistant instructor of the Shah Wali Kot Police Academy assigned to HHC, 1-17 Inf. Regt., 5/2 ID. "We used their combat loads for training, so we were only able to shoot one magazine [30 rounds] per student."
They were able to complete the training, and as a final course the academy trainees accompanied soldiers from C Company, 1-17 Inf. Regt., 5/2 ID on a mission equipped with their new skills.
"We would have them go round up the villagers and let them know that the Americans were treating anything for any medical reasons over here and then we pulled them back in," said Sgt. 1st Class Charles Danner, the senior instructor for the Shah Wali Kot Police Academy assigned to HHC, 1-17 Inf. Regt., 5/2 ID. "They would control the flow. They maintained the security, did the individual searches. C Company went out today again with 10 new guys who haven't been through the course, so I think that's going to be kind of a headache for them," Wilder said.
Shah Wali Kot District governor Hajji Obaidullah Popal says that the training creates a day and night difference in policemen.
"The difference between those who have been trained and those who have not been trained is great," Popal said. "It's like the difference between someone who can walk and see, and someone who cannot walk and cannot see. It's a large difference."
Task Force Buffalo plans to continue making the difference in the Shah Wali Kot police force until they are replaced this summer.
"We expect them to remain partnered, not only with our battalion, but with follow on forces as well, so we will be able to share, when we 'RIP out' this coming summer, with the following unit what these guys have been trained on, then maybe you can do another level of training," Neumann said. "It's been a good program so far, and like I said, we're learning as we go as well."
Date Posted:03.18.2010 09:13
Location:SHAH WALI KOT, AF
- Soldiers receive recognition for work in Afghanistan
- Buffaloes From the Sky: 1-17 Inf. Reg. soldiers conducts air assault mission in to Mansurabad
- Building a firefighting team in southern Afghanistan
- Progress in Southern Afghanistan