KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – As they entered Camp Nathan Smith, covered head to toe in long-flowing neutral or light blue burkas, the nine Afghan Uniformed Police women are not average Kandahar women. These women have made a conscious decision to risk their lives in the betterment of their country.
The Female Engagement Team with 58th Military Police Company attached to 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, held a day of training for the female AUP, March 28.
“[We] began working with the female AUP because we recognized a need for professional courses specifically directed towards the women,” said Capt. Megan Spangler, the commander of the 58th MP Company. “We've found that partnering soldiers directly with the female AUP works well to provide individual attention and build relationships.”
The AUP were welcomed onto camp by the FET and escorted to a classroom where the day’s itinerary consisted of a rule of law class taught by an Afghan lawyer, proper search of a detainee, basic first aid for bleeding and a military police dog demonstration.
“We thought about the things that they will have to deal with most when planning what we would teach them,” said Staff Sgt. Grace Grilliot, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the 58th MP Company FET.
The FET had two interpreters as well as handouts and hands on demonstrations to ensure the language barrier did not deter from learning.
“Of course the language barrier always plays a factor when teaching female AUP, but I don’t think that it hindered the training,” said Sgt. Brittany Deters, an NCO with the FET.
“They were shy in the beginning but once we got them to start participating in the different demonstrations they opened right up,” Grilliot said.
“Overall they really wanted to get hands on and try everything we were showing them,” said Spc. Rosa Sumrow, a communications specialist with the FET.
During the detainee search class, the female AUP demonstrated for the soldiers their own techniques when they search detainees.
“Even though they have their own way of doing things, us being able to show them a safer way so they can protect themselves is important,” Grilliot said. “I know they aren’t going to do it exactly like we taught them, but hopefully they will implement some of our techniques into their searching procedures.”
“I think the training went extremely well, and it was interesting to learn the female AUP had their own searching techniques, as well,” Deters said. “It was a learning experience for all of us.”
Teaching the women basic first aid is important because of how dangerous their jobs are and the probability of them having to use this skill is high, said Grilliot.
“They seemed like they had prior experience with some of the emergency trauma dressings but not the penetrating wound or pressure bandages,” said Sgt. Melody Price, a medic with the FET. “I think they got it down pretty good; no one seemed confused.”
“Once we passed out the bandages to practice they got up and went right to work,” Grilliot said. “They picked it up really fast.”
The final event for the female AUP was a demonstration of what a military police dog is capable of doing.
“We wanted to show them, not so much what the dog could do, but the control that the female handler has on the dog and how strong women can be,” Grilliot said.
The training ended on a high point with smiles and thank yous given by both soldiers and AUP as each woman was given a certificate of completion for training.
“Everything you teach us is to help us survive,” said one female AUP who attended. “We need to learn.”
“We thank you and appreciate your time and effort,” said another female AUP participant.
“I feel awesome to be able to train these women because they are going to take what we’ve taught them and share it with their fellow officers,” Sumrow said.
“The most rewarding thing I took from this experience is knowing that we are helping the female AUP become more experienced and trained to become self-sufficient in their field,” Deters said.
“I think everyone has different motivations for why they do the things they do and honestly I think they have more drive and more motivation than us,” Price said. “Not saying soldiers don’t have drive, but these women have it a lot tougher than us. [Being women] and the job they do it’s so much more of a threat for them; they have that drive because they know it’s life or death. I think it’s good we are able to train them and help them to be better.”
This work, Female AUP receive training from FET, by SSG Ruth Pagan, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.