News: Task Force Spartan mechanics train Afghan counterparts
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Fourteen members of the Afghan Border Police and Afghan Uniform Police received certificates of completion for a five-week maintenance and recovery course from vehicle mechanics assigned to Headquarters Company, 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Warrior on Forward Operating Base Gardez, March 15.
The course is designed to teach the ABP and AUP basic maintenance and vehicle recovery skills needed to maintain their equipment after coalition forces leave Afghanistan, according to Chief Warrant 2 Terry Ruppe, 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion maintenance technician.
“I think we are going in a positive direction,” Ruppe, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, said. “We have refined the program quite a bit. Initially, recovery wasn’t part of the curriculum, so we added that and I think that’s helped tremendously.”
Mojad Folad, a member of the Afghan Border Patrol, received recognition of honor graduate. This distinction is for the student who displayed the highest skills and test scores in the class.
Folad said when he started the class he didn’t know much about vehicle maintenance, but learned how to repair various vehicles types. After taking the course, his confidence has grown.
“If it’s broken, I can fix it,” Folad said. “I was very happy with the maintainers class and the instructors did a good job [teaching] us.”
U.S. Army Sgt. Philip Smith, the recovery non-commissioned officer in charge assigned to Headquarters Company, 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, and a native of Glendale, Ariz., gave the recovery instruction part of the course. The training was designed to provide them a basic understanding of their own equipment.
“They have the Ford rangers, HMMWV, Crane recovery vehicle and rollback vehicles,” Smith said. “We are training them on there own equipment so they can get used to it and are able to recover and fix [the vehicles] themselves.”
Smith says that with practice, they will be able to support themselves.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to take for them, but I know it takes practice with mechanics. For them to take on this responsibility is a big step for this country.
“Another big step taken is that the ABP and AUP worked together this time,” Ruppe added. “They quickly formed a cohesive team and made friends and everybody got along great.”