News: Making a difference through military mentorship
Story by Sgt. Ashley Curtis
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SCORPION, Afghanistan - When a combat tour nears its end, it’s common for service members to count down the days they have left in theater, in anticipation of returning to the life they left behind.
For others, like Romanian Army Capt. Adrian Dima, the job becomes more personal and the thought of heading home gives him feeling he’ll be leaving the job half-done.
Dima is a military police officer who joined a group of 29 Romanian Army soldiers as part of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. He and his colleagues work with Afghan National Police instructors to help them refine teaching strategies and become teachers of successful students.
“We do not consider only our work here as police officers, mentors and advisers,” he said. “We are also interested in building relationships based on mutual respect [and] exchanging life experience.”
His mission has become such an important part of his life that he doesn’t want to leave, until he feels the job is finished.
“I don’t want to go home. I want to stay,” said Dima, who plans to ask for an extension of this tour. “I like what I’m doing here. To continue what I started here would be the best thing to do.”
The goal of Dima’s mentor group is to get the police instructors to a proficiency level that will enable them to independently sustain their training program by the time coalition forces withdraw.
“They’re doing better and better,” Dima said. “Their success is our success.”
He is proud of the work they’ve done here in the last four months, and he’s impressed by the instructors’ growth.
The instructors now teach basic police skills, officer skills, literacy testing and a host of other specialized classes, without direct help from the mentors. Dima’s team observes the training as it progresses and offer strategies and suggestions for improvement after the training is complete, while also providing logistical and administrative support.
“They want to do good work and they do good work,” said Lt. Alin Stroie, another member of the mentor team.
“We just try to point out things to make them better,” said Dima.
With only two months left in Dima’s tour here, helping these instructors become fully self-sufficient is a top priority. The mission is so important to him that he said if given the chance to choose his mission all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing.