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Military

Airmen mentor Afghan national army

by Staff Sgt. Ian Carrier
American Forces Network, Afghanistan

2/25/2008 - KABUL, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- Airmen from the 755th Expeditionary Support Squadron here are currently mentoring Afghan national army soldiers at the Logistics Support Operations Center in Kabul.

The Airmen work closely with their Afghan counterparts to assist them setting up a web of logistics throughout the country.

The eventual goal is to have the ANA be completely self-sufficient. The center is the primary logistics hub for the ANA and Afghan national police in Afghanistan. The 90-man unit handles all classes of materials, excluding medical supplies, which they should get by the end of the year, said Col. John McGuire, the 755th ESPTS senior mentor for the Logistics Support Operations Center.

"Small steps here make a big difference," Colonel McGuire said. "It was a big step to get them to handle their own supplies. They knew the theory behind logistics and we are mentoring them to help them improve. One of the challenges was to get agencies to talk to each other and getting the ANA to work together."

"We have several depots in Kabul," said ANA Col. Nabi Ahmadzi, the Logistics Support Operations Center commander. "We supply all the ANA and ANP from these depots."

"We mentor and help with problems that may come up," said Capt. Atley Gray , a senior mentor to the Distribution Office. "We try as mentors to have our counterparts come up with solutions. This is their country; we try not to interfere. They come to us for guidance and we give direction. We don't tell them what to do.

"It's been great working with the colonel and his staff," Captain Gray said. "They are willing to learn. They thank me, and I thank them back because it's easier to teach people who want to learn."

One of the ways the mentors are trying to streamline the logistical process is by getting the ANA up to speed with computer technology, making data more streamlined by using spreadsheets instead of dry-erase boards.

Senior Master Sgt. Wendel Wilson and Tech. Sgt. Natalie Cerchio, both with the 755th ESPTS, are mentors for the Central Supply Depot. They teach Afghan soldiers basic computer skills such as Word and Excel. The training began in April 2007. So far, 120 students have been taught, and the program is expected to continue.

"It is fun and challenging," Sergeant Cerchio said. "You have to break things down and start at the basic level. They are the future of this country, and someday they will be teaching others the skills we have taught them."

An important link in the chain is the Central Movement Agency. This is where all the vehicles that transport the supplies are kept. There are five truck companies; two light, one medium, one heavy and a headquarters company.

The mentors at the Central Movement Agency help the Afghans with convoy scheduling, techniques, property book managing and fuel management.

Approximately 100 convoys are run a week, said Master Sgt. James Fink, assigned to the 755th ESPTS and a Central Movement Agency mentor. These convoys are run through coordination with the Logistics Support Operations Center.

The mentoring Airmen of the 755th ESPTS are helping change the way the ANA conduct their logistics, and in turn are helping Afghanistan in the war on terrorism.



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