News: Team training Afghan army back from deployment
By Staff Sgt. Tony Foster
Division West Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas – First Army Division West welcomed home its NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan team here, June 26.
Leaders from Division West’s 479th Field Artillery, 5th Armored, and 181st and 189th Infantry Brigades, worked alongside Canadian and Croatian soldiers, making up three teams tasked as trainers providing mentorship to the Afghan National Army.
Now that the team is home, its soldiers face the essential process of picking up where they left off and getting back to life after deployment.
“It’s a great opportunity to show that transition — from what they’ve been doing overseas deployed — and now that they are back,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Navrkal, First Army Division West deputy commanding general for operations. “We want to show them how much we appreciated what they’ve done for us.”
The CFC mission was for the trainer/mentor teams to partner with ANA units and deploy them to their assigned corps battle areas, assisting in coalition efforts leading to the transition of all combat operations to the Afghan National Security Forces.
“Our mission was to train and mentor the ANA soldiers as they came through the Consolidated Fielding Center,” said Sgt. Maj. Jasper Williamson, team noncommissioned officer-in-charge, with 2nd Battalion, 381st Infantry Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade. “Their soldiers went through a nine-week train up and we were responsible for mentoring through that process.”
Team focus was also placed on the importance of a strong Noncommissioned Officer Corps.
“We were successful for the portion of the mission our team worked on,” said Lt. Col. Milan Hevr, the NTM-A team commander from 3rd Battalion, 290th Infantry Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade. “The best thing was the example we set to the Afghan army. We showed them what an NCO Corps can do for them.”
Welcoming the team home signifies the time for reintegration back into their families, society and communities to begin, Navrkal said.
“It’s important for them to take the time and opportunity and utilize the resources that we have and ensure that reintegration comes back together well,” said Navrkal.
“We can keep the family unit together and strong, and resilient and ready for the next opportunities for their soldier/loved-one to serve.”