News: ANA graduates take major steps to medical independence
Story by Lance Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Afghanistan – The three medics stand at attention, quietly waiting for their weeks of hard work to come to fruition. After some words from Afghan National Army Col. Atahullah-Ahmedi, corps surgeon with 215 Corps, the men received their certificate of qualification, March 17. The soldiers completed the medic course and took a major step toward Afghan medical independence.
Atahullah-Ahmedi attended the first graduation for the medic course taught by Afghan instructors, on Delaram II. His presence demonstrated the level of confidence and support by the ANA higher commanders in the program started eight weeks ago.
“This is something that is really high profile with the ANA,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Nigel Kissoon, course supervisor and chief medical adviser with Regimental Combat Team 6. “Having the [ANA Corps] surgeon come down to do the graduation was really important, especially to these students.”
Atahullah-Ahmedi talked to the graduates about the significance of medics and the value of the material taught during the course.
“I think it’s a big stepping stone, and it boosts their confidence having the [Colonel] come on deck and speak to them,” said Kissoon.
Kissoon added he was confident that the skills taught during the course will be integrated to the different kandaks and used to save lives in the field.
The classes covered common medical techniques including evacuations, emergency medicine, hemorrhage control and sanitation.
Afghan National Army Pvt. Ebrahim, a soldier with Recon Tolai, 4th Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, smiled when – after weeks of hard work and life like simulated exercises – he received his certification to be a medic.
Ebrahim said he took the course because he wanted to help people who were injured or dying. He joined happily and wants to be the best medic possible.
Now that the course graduated its first class, the three newly-certified medics will help to train the next class.
“We have a course scheduled for next month in April, and the class is going to be a bigger,” said Kissoon.
The classes will build on each other, with graduates instructing and mentoring new students.
“If they are in the ANA, or the police, Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan Local Police, civilian or military, we will help them,” added Ebrahim.
The course picks up with new students and newly qualified instructors in a couple weeks, but for now, Kissoon is taking in the historic first step of ANA medics on Delaram II toward medical independence.
“I’m like a father seeing their kids walk for the very first time, seeing them grow up, from day one, to day two,” said Kissoon, with a smile. “I’m really happy to see the first medic course for ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] for Delaram II, 4th Kandak graduate.”
After the ceremony, the students repeatedly thanked Kissoon and his staff, shaking their hands and exchanging hugs.
“It’s a big stepping stone for these guys and I know they will go on to do bigger and better things,” added Kissoon.
Editor’s note: Forward Operating Base Delaram II currently houses Regimental Combat Team 6 in 1st Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.