News: Afghan, coalition senior enlisted advisors strive for a stronger ANA
Story by Seaman Timothy Newborn
By Seaman Tim Newborn
Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan - Command sergeants majors from several countries brought knowledge, experience and motivation to the 3rd annual Afghan National Sergeant Major of the Army Training Seminar held at Kabul Military Training Center, May 19-21.
Command sergeants major traveled to KMTC, some from as far away as MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. The three-day joint seminar, attended by more than 125 senior enlisted leaders, was an opportunity to collectively discuss and share ideas that are affecting the Afghan National Army's path to independence.
Besides Soldier skills, the agenda included discussions regarding safety, security and housing.
The goal of the seminar was to help establish a better, stronger and more sufficient ANA, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur Coleman, Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan.
Kicking off the event was Maj. Gen. Robert Cone, commanding general, CSTC-A.
"I believe that Afghanistan is best protected by Afghans, and they're ready to stand up to the challenge," said Cone. "What we expect to see this summer is Afghan soldiers leading the fight."
"These seminars are the foundations, the very beginning, for making change and getting results," said Coleman. "I want us all to use this opportunity to bond and represent one voice for the ANA."
British Army Quarter Master Sgt. Alan Renton, an instructor for the ANA Officer Candidate School, spoke of what he believes to be a hurdle the ANA must tackle.
"One of the challenges we're facing is how to move our focus to national ethics rather than tribal belief," he said.
On the day two of the seminar, sergeants major witnessed Afghan non-commissioned officers demonstrate proficiency on the M-16 rifle, M-240 machine gun, M-9 pistol and the M-249 machine gun.
Afterwards, the NCOs took charge and coached the senior enlisted leaders through the actions they just preformed.
"Our soldiers are ready. They have the right skills, equipment and materials to get the job done," said ANA Command Sgt. Maj. Roshan Safi.
"Now we provide the proper safety knowledge to keep our soldiers safe from harm so the Afghan national army can continue to prosper," said Safi.
Having deployed to Afghanistan in 2003, Command Sgt. Maj. Vincent Camacho, Combined Joint Task Force 101, agreed. He said he can see substantial results and progress made within the ANA the past five short years.
"These warriors really have the will for independence. They have the will to fight and are ready to defend their country. It shows during this seminar," said Camacho.