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Afghan soldiers teach, policemen learn at RPG range

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CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – At the Joint Sustainment Academy Southwest here, Afghan National Security Forces typically get their military training from Marine instructors.

On June 14, for the first time, Afghan Uniformed policemen attending the course received training from Afghan National Army soldiers from the Afghan Small Arms Weapons Instructor’s Course, during a rocket-propelled grenade range.

The intent of the event was to show the Marine instructors that the ANA soldiers taking part in the weapons course can conduct instructional operations, and that the policemen can use that knowledge and be successful.

The soldiers set up the range by organizing training lanes with cones and preparing a shaded area for the students on a day where temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. Afghan student instructors gave a detailed brief to ensure safety.

“We are happy the ANA are here to teach us, because some of us don’t know how to shoot the RPG,” said policeman Mahamad Hoqini, class leader for the AUP course.

Once the policemen were ready to fire, the ANA were there to conduct the live-fire training operation.

The RPG, which has been around since the Vietnam War, can shoot up to 900 meters but is most effective between 300-400 meters. Rocket-propelled grenade launchers are the weapon of choice for Afghan security forces for attacks on armored vehicles.

“I feel well that I am helping teach my brothers of Afghanistan so we can help bring peace to our people together,” said Sgt. Nimatullah Wafadar, a student from the small arms instructor’s course. “This is my first time running a shooting range.”

The message and instruction provided by the ANA got across to the students as they successfully completed the range without incident, and the policemen gained experience firing the RPG.

“This is a big deal due to the fact that the ANA and soon the AUP will be able to provide vital weapons instruction to their units, ensuring that the ranges are conducted efficiently and in a safe manner to which the most instruction can be maintained,” said Staff Sgt. William A. Genochio, operations chief at JSAS an Independence, Mo., native.

The AUP class will now prepare for their graduation, while the ANA small arms instructors will continue learning more about weapons systems and how to eventually take over as instructors themselves.

Article by Cpl. Adam Leyendecker, Regional Command Southwest