USMC Training Afghan Soliders

This slide shows USMC soldiers working with Afghans in training for combat and security duties.
Some of the Marines mentored the Afghan battalion in fields outside their military occupational specialty. KC-130 pilot, Capt. Eric Brown, officer-in-charge of the mentoring team, fulfilled a spot meant for a combat arms major. Prior to landing in Afghanistan, Brown was the forward air controller for 3/24. Lance Cpl. Daniel Gierling fulfilled the job of two captains. Although an intelligence specialist by trade, Gierling was tasked to train the entire Kandak on communications as well.

Credit: I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, March 27th, 2010

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian Sheppard, who originally deployed to Iraq as an individual augment assigned to the detention center, was transferred to Afghanistan to serve as the mentoring team operations and executive officer.

Using mostly hands-on practical application to train the soldiers, the Marines structured the Kandak to mirror the Army and Marine Corps.

“We taught them how to operate as an infantry battalion with the numbers they had,” said Sheppard. “We tried to train them to shoot, move and communicate.

The ratio between Marines and the men they mentored was 50-to-1. Brown believes the reason his team was successful is because they agreed early on that they were not going to fix problems the Afghan soldiers had. They were going to train whichever soldiers showed up whenever they showed up. Choosing not to get wrapped up around the axle, the Marines did their best to maintain composure amidst the frustrations of negligent discharges, soldiers who would go on unauthorized absence, and no sense of time. A large amount of their success is invested in personal relationships with the Afghans.

  • The first picture shows Sgt. Daniel Scannell, Chicago native, a motarman assigned to the embedded mentoring team for the 1st Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, watches closesly as an Afghan soldier fires his M-16 on the rifle range, March 27. The team is responsible for mentoring and training the Afghan army to function on their own to take over security in Helmand province.
  • The second picture shows  Sgt. Daniel Scannell, Chicago native, a motorman assigned to the mentoring team attached to the 1st Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, corrects an Afghan soldier on the proper handling of his M-16 while firing on the range, March 27.
  • The third photo shows Sgt. Daniel Scannell, clearing out a jam in a rifle belonging to an Afghan soldier, March 27. The team is responsible for mentoring and training the Afghan army to function on their own to take over security in Helmand province.
  • The fourth photo shows Maj. M. Yasin, Afghan national army soldier assigned to the 1st Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, correctsing two of his soldiers while at the rifle range, March 27.
  • The final photo shows Sgt. Daniel Scannell adjusting the firing position of an Afghan soldier at the rifle range, March 27. The team is responsible for mentoring and training the Afghan army to function on their own to take over security in Helmand province.

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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