News: Bayonet Soldiers build border police backbone
HAIRATAN, Afghanistan -- Soldiers with 1st Platoon, C Company, 40th Engineer Battalion, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team travel to the Hairatan border crossing point in Balk province routinely. After a short, 15-minute drive in their armored vehicles, they pull up to the crossing’s entry control point. Peering out the metal slits covering the truck’s windows, 1st Platoon soldiers watch as Afghan border policemen check for bombs under the U.S. vehicles with mirrors - just like they taught them.
But, as part of an all encompassing approach to advising, assisting and mentoring the border policemen, 1st Platoon soldiers do more than partner at the day-to-day, operations level. The platoon’s non-commissioned officers take advantage of every spare second they have with their Afghan counterparts to go over the duties and responsibilities of “the backbone of the Army,” or in this case, “the backbone of the Afghan border police.”
During a visit to the crossing point April 13, 1st Platoon soldiers focused their training with border police non-commissioned officers on areas the policemen requested during the last engagement. Prior training was tailored toward defending the crossing point if it came under attack. The recent training expanded the border police leaders’ repertoire of skills to teach their subordinates.
Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Buras, the 1st Platoon platoon sergeant, started the training by directing his own soldiers through a physical fitness session. The border police leaders watched and soon joined in, followed Buras’ commands during the exercises, and asked how best to apply the techniques for their soldiers.
After physical training, Sgt. Michael Alderson, a Greensburg, Ky., native, now a squad leader with 1st Platoon, led his soldiers through a movement techniques demonstration. The soldiers bounded in teams toward a fictitious enemy while Buras narrated to the Afghan border policemen.
Buras then demonstrated ways to react if the border policemen are attacked in their pick-up trucks. He and Alderson demonstrated different points of the vehicle that work best for protection against small-arms fire.
“Soldiers all around the world are soldiers,” said Buras. “They want training and want NCOs to take care of them.”
Buras tapped his 15 years of non-commissioned officer experience while talking with the Afghan border police leaders, whose non-commissioned officer corps is less than two years old, about what exactly it is a non-commissioned officer does.
“We take care of soldiers. That’s our job and that’s your job,” Buras said. “And when we tell them to do something they’ll do it, not just because we told them to, but because we are out front doing it with them. Because we lead from the front.”
Date Posted:04.15.2011 12:16
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