FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan --
The Embedded Training Team for Regimental Combat Team 8 has established vehicle operation and maintenance classes to facilitate the Afghan soldiers in an effort to better prepare Afghan National Army soldiers to meet the licensing requirements for the tactical vehicles used during missions.
“Our mission is to get their skills up as much as possible within the little time we have with them,” said Cpl. William Betush, a course instructor with the ETT.
Betush leads a class that aims to improve the ANA soldiers’ driving capabilities and help further familiarize them with the vehicles they will be using on missions. The length of each class can vary, but the Sarber, Pa., native has four days to evaluate and improve the Afghan soldiers’ driving abilities. Betush teaches one half of the two part class, along with Lance Cpl. Jason Hubbard, another instructor with ETT.
“I lead the course that teaches them basic maintenance; things like how to change the lights and tires and just the maintenance on any of the vehicles [that they regularly work with],” said Hubbard, a native of Colrain, Mass.
Hubbard’s class also gives instruction on several of the common and job-specific tools used when working on the vehicles, to include their use and care.
Students for each class are selected from the kandaks, the ANA version of a battalion, making up the second brigade of the ANA’s 215th Corps, stationed at the FOB. Soldiers selected for each class are chosen from different units so they can share it with the rest of the soldiers in their kandaks.
“We’re looking for the soldiers to start trying to teach each other and point out flaws in each other’s work,” said Betush. “This is a signal to us that they’re all starting to get it.”
Along with Betush and Hubbard, senior Afghan non-commissioned officers from each group serve as class leaders to help direct the class. After demonstrating and walking through each step, the instructors supervise and answer questions while letting the Afghan NCOs take charge of passing on the lesson.
“[The class] seems to go better with them teaching it,” said Hubbard. “I’m in charge of teaching the whole class, but this way they’re learning from their peers. They’re grasping the concept, and they’re listening to that senior team leader and trying to pass [the information] through the whole brigade.”
The classes are giving Afghan soldiers an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the vehicles before they move on to the advanced course, where they receive more detailed instruction and take the test to receive their licenses. It’s also giving them a way to prepare for a future outside of the army.
“At the end of the class we give them a certificate,” said Betush, “and once they leave the ANA, they can use that to get a job as a truck driver. They’ll get paid more because they’ve had training. I think our classes are doing a really good job of providing the basics for them.”