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Army February 2, 2012
A BATTERY of Afghan artillery-
men will soon be fully qualified and
able to operate independently thanks
to the efforts of Australian and US
Three soldiers from Townsville's
4 Regt RAA have worked with a US
artillery unit since June 2010 to bring
the gunners of Cannon Bty from the
4th Kandak up to speed.
The Afghan gunners will gain their
final live-fire certification later this
MTF 3 lead artillery mentor WO2
Brendan Colles said the ANA gunners
had come a long way since their train-
"The 4th Kandak only had one
working gun and few experienced
gunners when we first arrived," WO2
"[Now] they have a function-
ing battery with two command posts
that can safely and accurately provide
offensive fire in support of future 4th
He said MTF 3 would head home
before all certifications were complete.
"The certification process involves
two stages and, while we'll oversee
the direct fire practice, circumstances
mean we'll miss the final indirect live-
"We're leaving Cannon Bty in
good hands with the US Army instruc-
tors and our MTF 4 colleagues, but
it would have been great to see the
As they worked alongside their US
Army counterparts, 4 Regt's gunners
had some issues to overcome.
"There are some differences in US
and Australian artillery doctrine but
we've negotiated those and delivered
a sound package to the ANA," he said.
"The Americans are a smart and
motivated group of people who've
done an excellent job in delivering a
high level of training."
Twenty-six US Army soldiers
from the Texas-based 1st Btn, 21st
Fd Artillery Regt assisted in training
ANA gun teams, fire support officers
and command personnel.
According to WO2 Colles, the
Commander of the 4th Kandak, Brig-
Gen Mohammed Zafar Khan, is "very
big" on literacy training for his sol-
"He believes education is an
important tool, so we convinced the
local Dari contractor to give Cannon
Bty's gunners an additional 65 hours
of literacy and mathematics tuition,"
WO2 Colles said.
"This extra education presents
obvious benefits for the battalion, bri-
gade and ANA as a whole."
After completing the training, the
MTF 4 artillery mentors from 1 Regt
RAA will continue to advise Cannon
Bty during operational missions.
The US Army personnel will
take the experience gained with the
Australians to another Afghan prov-
ince to train another gun battery.
Gunners set for success
Afghan artillerymen set sights on certification after more than 18 months with Australian and US mentors
Precision planning: Sgt Simon Hastings, MTF 3, and US Army officer Lt Daniel Underwood observe Afghan
artillerymen as they plan where to locate their Russian-made howitzer field guns during a training exercise at
Multinational Base Tarin Kot in Afghanistan.
Photo by LS Andrew Dakin
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