News: Mortar training increases ANA’s capability on battlefield
Story by Sgt. Julieanne Morse
WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Thirteen Afghan National Army soldiers completed two weeks of 60mm mortar training with a ceremony on Forward Operating Base Airborne, June 3.
U.S. Soldiers from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, taught ANA soldiers how to fire 60mm mortars, using conventional and handheld methods, to increase the ANA’s capabilities on the battlefield.
The 60mm Lightweight Company Mortar System is made up of a tube, a base plate and a bipod assembly. The entire system, not including ammunition, weighs approximately 46.5 pounds and can easily be carried by one or two people for short distances.
Using the conventional method, the bipod is used to stabilize the system pushing the maximum effective range to 3,490 meters.
Both the conventional and handheld methods allow for speed in engaging a target.
“Mortars are a good asset,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Harold Wideman, an advisor during the mortar training and an indirect fire infantryman with Co. C., “and if they use them correctly, then they should have no problems at all.”
Staff Sgt. Ferdinand Fernandez, the primary instructor for the mortar training and an indirect fire infantryman with Co. C., said the ANA soldiers showed improvement from where they started before the training.
ANA Sgt. 1st Class Abdul Samed Mohammady with the 2nd Kandak, 4th Brigade, 203rd Corps, said the ANA soldiers, who attened the training, didn’t know how to use the 60mm mortars before the training and were happy to know how to use them correctly now.
Fernandez said the ANA were fully mission capable and he expected senior noncommissioned officers to go back and teach other soldiers. “That way we multiply the knowledge and combat power across the kandak,” the Ponce, Puerto Rico, native added.
Mohammady said he hopes to teach the other ANA soldiers in his kandak what he has learned.
The relationship between ANA and U.S. Forces continues to grow as the ANA also grow and take full security responsibility ahead of the U.S. Forces scheduled leave in 2014.
“I really enjoy working with them,” said Fernandez. “My guys actually have a lot of fun working with them.”
“We are working to better the country,” added Wideman, a Baltimore native.