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Mission readiness exercise prepares ANA for real-life scenarios

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After 32 hours of classroom instruction and 105 hours of practical application; it’s time for the test.

Six Afghan National Army soldiers from the 5th Kandak participated in a mission readiness exercise at Forward Operating Base Delaram, Afghanistan, April 11, 2011.

Marines with the Embedded Partnering Team, Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) set up three stations for the soldiers: preventive maintenance on tactical vehicles, driving in reverse and vehicle recovery.

“We want them to experience real life situations,” said Sgt. Joseph A. Goolsby, one of the instructors with the EPT. “The MRX gets them out of the motor pool, and it allows them to get hands-on training with situations they might face while out on missions.”

At the first station, two of the soldiers had to conduct a preventive maintenance check on a truck. During this, they check the tires for air pressure and any wear and tear, air filters for cleanliness, fluid levels and headlights.

“Preventive maintenance is the most important step,” explained Said Haroon, a soldier with the 5th Kandak of the ANA. “We can’t leave for any mission without checking our vehicles.”

Another station required the soldiers to use a ground guide while driving in reverse through a series of cones. This station simulated the need to back through obstacles and to rely on the ground guide.

“Backing up was a huge portion of the driver’s course,” said Goolsby, a Greenville, S.C., native. “This helped us see how much [the soldiers] retained from the class. They learned ground guiding techniques, like hand and arm signals, and as drivers they were taught to watch the other soldier on the ground.”

At the final station, the ANA soldiers had to pull a vehicle out of the ditch.

“We taught them vehicle recovery, but it wasn’t taught thoroughly, by design,” said Goolsby. “It requires them to think outside of the box. We’re there if they need us, but we want them to troubleshoot getting the vehicle out of the ditch. So when it happens somewhere else, they have the confidence to do it themselves.”

With little help from the Marines, the soldiers completed all three stations of the exercise, which demonstrates they’re ready for the ultimate challenge: using the knowledge during upcoming resupply missions.

“I’m thankful for the Marines,” Haroon concluded. “They taught us a lot, and now when we go on convoys we can do things by ourselves.”

Article by Sgt. Rachael K. A. Moore, 2nd Marine Logistics Group