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    Security Force Assistance Team hets 'high value' training

    Security Force Assistance Team gets 'high value' training

    Photo By Spc. Justin Snyder | A soldier with 189th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Justin Snyder 

    354th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    FORT POLK, La. – As Afghan National Security Forces continue to grow in size and capabilities, they will begin to rely less on support provided by Coalition Forces. In response, the military has created special Security Force Assistance Teams to ease that transition.

    An SFAT team is composed of leaders with various military specialties and civilian contractors with skill-specific skills. They work in a synchronized effort to prepare ANSF for the future withdraw of Coalition Forces.

    To prepare them for their role, soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, SFAT, trained March 22 alongside role-playing ANSF, at the Joint Readiness Training Center. The ANSF role players were a mix of American soldiers and Afghan civilians.

    Following a week of tumultuous classroom training, which included lessons on cultural awareness, language skills, mission case studies and understanding their role as advisers, the teams put their skills to the test in the mock village of Sangari.

    “It’s one thing to sit in a classroom and learn it all, but to act it out and make it happen is a whole different deal. JRTC provides that to the highest level,” said Staff Sgt. Gavin Ontai, observer coach/trainer for the event and a soldier with the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion.

    There, the teams worked in a synchronized fashion, advising ANSF to capture a simulated high valued target during a safe house raid exercise. The SFAT directed the ANSF on how to complete the mission in a safe and efficient manner, while allowing the Afghan National Army to be the lead unit on the mission.

    “We taught, coached and mentored our Afghan counterparts to be the lead aspect in the mission,” said Capt. Clayton Mackley, 4th BCT, 1st Armored Div., SFAT soldier. “We kind of took a back seat and let them do their thing while we provided the command and control needed to execute.”

    And execute they did.

    When the signal was given, the role-playing ANA soldiers tactically infiltrated the Sangari barbershop and captured the “high value target”, along with another suspected civilian without suffering any casualties.

    Following the capture, the SFAT soldiers along with soldiers from the 189th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division assisted the ANA in identifying the insurgent and clearing the remaining rooms.

    “The raid went very successful on both the Afghan National Security Force side and ours,” said Mackley, a native of Orem, Utah. “It was great to see them take our advice to heart and execute. It was the epitome of what an SFAT mission should be.”

    Mock Afghan Uniformed Police members also took the lead on providing security for the entire mission including transporting the high value target to a detention facility.

    The ability to perform with foreign allies and to have a successful mission will prove very important as these soldiers prepare to head downrange in the near future.

    “This is about as real as they are going to get,” said Ontai, a native of Fort Bragg, N.C. “This is absolutely important in that it allows these guys to see everything go down with their own eyes.”

    Mackley agreed that the training at JRTC was very beneficial and thinks the SFAT mission is important in allowing for a smooth transition to the ANSF.

    “Today showed the complexity of having multiple units, both foreign and Coalition Forces, working as one on a joint operation. There is a language barrier you have to overcome and we both are used to doing things differently,” said Mackley. “The more we can take from these issues here at JRTC, the better we will be because of it later on. And our allies will be better because of it also.”



    Date Taken: 03.25.2012
    Date Posted: 03.25.2012 11:58
    Story ID: 85760
    Location: FORT POLK, LA, US 

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