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American Forces Press Service

Afghan Soldiers Learn to Maintain Medium Tactical Vehicles

By Staff Sgt. Mason T. Lowery, USA
American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 9, 2006 The Afghan National Army met another milestone recently when 19 soldiers graduated from the medium tactical vehicle familiarization course held at the German maintenance facility.

ANA soldiers who completed the weeklong training will train fellow soldiers in their respective kandaks, or units.

"We have learned all the systems of the new vehicles. We will teach the soldiers in our kandaks driving rules and how to maintain the vehicles," said Afghan National Army Pvt. Hassan, 26th Kandak, 201st Corps Headquarters, a graduate of the course.

The course will help with vehicle safety too, Hassan explained. "We have had many vehicle casualties in the last few years. What we learn and pass on from this class will reduce accidents and also reduce vehicle damage," he said.

The Afghan army recently received 374 vehicles through a contract with International Trucks, and will use them to transport fuel, water and personnel throughout the country. International Trucks was awarded the contract to build a fleet of 2,781 trucks in four models for the ANA: a general transport truck; a petroleum, oil and lubricant truck; a water truck; and a recovery truck. The contract also addresses training the soldiers to maintain the trucks.

"These guys know what trucks are," said Emmanuel Lepere, product manager in Kabul for International Trucks. "We're focusing on modern trucks and explaining the new technology on these trucks. Clean engines, oil changes, maintenance are something new for them. The most important thing the instructors want the students to learn are the 'dos' and 'don'ts' specific to these trucks."

Students learned general and environmental guidelines, a description of features, preventive maintenance checks and services, and operation of the vehicles. The course combined classroom and hands-on training, with emphasis placed on the hands-on portion, explained Lepere.

During the hands-on training, students crowded around their primary instructor, Danny Yao, International Trucks service and product engineer. They inundated him with questions and climbed in, on and around the trucks to learn as much as possible.

"The students are very inquisitive and willing to learn," Yao said. "They are very hands-on."

Lepere also was impressed with the Afghan soldiers' approach to the training. "I'm most impressed with their attitudes," he said. "From the way they ask questions and seem to really want to learn about the trucks, I get the impression they really want to pull their country up. They have great attitudes."

The long-term goal is to set up at least one maintenance facility at every ANA corps, with ANA and local mechanics maintaining the trucks at that level.

(Army Staff Sgt. Mason T. Lowery is assigned to the Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan public affairs office.)

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