FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Afghanistan --
Since their arrival to Afghanistan, Marines with the Embedded Training Team, Regimental Combat Team 6 have been training and partnering with their counter parts from the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Tolay, 1st Kandak.
The Marines’ mission is far from simple. Their daily tasks include supervising, advising, and training the ANA in order to assist them in becoming self sufficient and able to operate alone, once the United States and other partner nations leave Afghanistan.
“Today we went on a mobile patrol to Delaram I, an ANA compound,” said Staff Sgt. Johnny Arnold, senior enlisted advisor, from Seymour, Texas.
“I talk to their sergeant major daily,” Arnold added, who acts as a mentor to the tolay (American equivalent to a company) staff. “We have a decent relationship. I sort of advise him on what to do and let him know we’re there in case they ever need anything.”
The Marines with the ETT travel to Delaram I often and stay there for most of the day.
“Our task is to train and advise them,” Arnold said. “The more time we spend with them the better relationship we build. The better relationship we build, the better we can advise them and the better we can help.”
According to Arnold, the Marines asked the ANA what they wanted to learn about. Originally, they responded that they were interested in the .50 caliber machine gun and reading maps. Their interest continued and they requested further training on other weapons systems and combat techniques.
“Last week we taught them about heavy machine guns and medium machine guns,” said Sgt. Patrick Lynch, assistant operations chief, from Harrisburg, Pa. “This week we’ve been teaching them about dismounted patrolling, patrol formations and immediate action drills for contact.”
With the use of a translator, Lynch teaches classes to the ANA.
“They already know what to do,” Lynch said. “The only thing I do is sharpen the edges. They forget the small things from time to time and the small things can lead to bigger problems. I’m basically just a mentor or coach.
“I like doing it,” Lynch added. “I don’t know why, I just do. It’s my job to help them. Our goal is to get them operating efficiently on their own.”
Sometimes when the Marines with RCT-6 arrive to their compound the ANA have already started running drills on their own. Both Arnold and Lynch agree that this shows that the ANA are very close to becoming independent.
“They definitely learn fast,” Lynch said. “They have the big things like accountability down. It’s just small things that need to be tightened up.”