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    Special Mission Wing Unit: Gaining momentum as it graduates its second class of pilots and crew chiefs



    Courtesy Story

    International Security Assistance Force HQ Public Affairs

    KABUL, Afghanistan – The Special Operations Advisory Group held its second Afghan National Army Special Operations Command- Special Mission Wing graduation ceremony on the Afghan Air Force Base Oqab in northern Kabul International Airport, yesterday.

    The graduation ceremony signifies the successful completion of aviation training for eight Afghan National Army Service Members. The four pilots and four crew chiefs spent the last two and half months undergoing rigorous aviation training in order to be deemed “fully mission qualified."

    The highly extensive training program is ten week long course totaling over 60 hours of classroom training and approximately 203 hours of flight time, 73 of those hours under Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) in all illumination levels while being tested on their ability to operate and maintain a Mi-17 helicopter. The course, taught by Counter Narco-Terrorism Global Support instructors, is conducted a very controlled environment where the candidates are isolated from the demands of every day military responsibilities and the exercises are based upon real-life scenarios in a combat environment.

    “The training was very intense; there were some long days and nights but graduation from this course means that we are fully qualified and mission capable to carry out any operation” according to an Afghan Special Mission Wing Unit pilot and recent graduate.

    The pilots and crew chiefs successfully completed all terrain, inclement weather and night operation flying tests; air assaults with night vision goggles; air support to ground troops such as vehicle and personnel interdiction as well as casualty evacuations. Training of this nature will prove to be vital when the team will be expected to conduct operations in very rural and remote locations where it is difficult for troops to gain access by military vehicles.

    The Afghan Forces Special Mission Wing Commander, said, “It is our desire and hope that our recent graduates will continue to use their skills and training to their utmost ability.”

    As the newest members of a specialized unit, the SMW’s mission is to assist the ground forces by providing aviation support during counternarcotics, counterterrorism and any other special operations.

    With the recent transition of roles between the Afghan and coalition forces, successes even of this magnitude further signify how vital training and development is to the Afghan forces to continue to develop their skills in order take the lead on all planning and executing of all operations in Afghanistan.

    One of SMW’s recent pilot’s graduating the course understands the importance as well, “With the transition taking place next year, it is important for the Afghan forces to gain the skills and knowledge while we can so that we will be able to take on the significant missions throughout Afghanistan.”

    Each graduate was presented with a certificate of completion for their successful completion of the course as well as the right and honor of wearing the 777 Green platoon Special Mission Wing Unit Patch on their right shoulder. The graduates will be reinserted in the squadron as primary planners and mission leads.

    Both Afghan and coalition forces military officials were present for the ceremony in order to compliment the graduates on their recent achievement.

    Lt. Col. Jeffrey Poisson, Special Mission Wing Embed Training Team Commander, commended the graduates on their dedication and successful completion of the course. He said, “The training you completed over the past 10 weeks will only serve as a means to enhance your skills from the planning to the execution phases."

    The SMW Green Platoon takes pride in knowing that although this is only the second graduation they are sure that there are many more will follow with a new class scheduled to being early fall.

    The SMW has to date graduated 15 fully mission qualified individuals which include seven pilots and eight crew chiefs.



    Date Taken: 07.25.2013
    Date Posted: 07.25.2013 15:47
    Story ID: 110833
    Location: KABUL, AF 

    Web Views: 1,615
    Downloads: 1