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Army January 31, 2013
Training of ANA troops is ahead of schedule in Afghanistan
Aussies pass on knowledge
Helping hand: Gnr David Alexander, of AMTT, provides guidance during remediation training to ANA
officers in Kabul, Afghanistan. Inset, ANA troops check the sight of a D-30 artillery gun.
Photos by Cpl Christopher Dickson
Capt Sean Childs
THE success of the Afghan National
Army's School of Artillery in Kabul can
be testament to the dedicated profession-
alism of the Australian Artillery Training
and Advisory Team (ATAT).
The school is autonomous in the
provision of basic artillery training to
Afghan National Army recruits, with
training inclusive of three disciplines:
guns, fire direction and fire support.
ATAT's Sgt Ross Edwards said the
team's focus was now providing advice
on training concepts, programs and over-
all governance procedures, while mentor-
ing day-to-day courses continued.
"The particular skills we are advis-
ing them on include bringing the gun
in to and out of action in the field," Sgt
The rapport between the Australians
and their Afghan counterparts has grown
since the school's inception. The Afghan
recruits appreciate the gravity of their
knowledge building, approaching their
lessons with much enthusiasm.
Artillery Training and Advisory Team
CO Lt-Col Nick Wilson said Australia's
work with the school would have an
TK Gunners salute
on St Barbara's Day
Capt Sean Childs
AT CAMP Blackhorse in
Kabul's Pol-e-Charki region, the
Australian Mobile Training Team
(AMTT) has been creating an
enduring and professional Afghan
National Army (ANA) artillery
capability, an important element in
ensuring the continued transition
of Afghanistan's security respon-
sibility to the Afghan National
Security Forces (ANSF).
That capability translates
to a formidable indirect fire sup-
port capacity, the heavy firepower
assisting the ANA's soldiers on the
ground from a distance.
For three months, AMTT RSM
WO1 Dean Sinclair observed the
ANA gunners and was impressed
with their progress.
"These soldiers are now better
prepared to transition to self-sus-
tainment on the battlefield," WO1
It is the continued strength of
the professional working partner-
ship between the Australians and
Afghans that makes success pos-
Brig-Gen Noor, Commander 2nd
Bde, 111th Capital Div, ANA, said
the relationship was very good.
"We make some plans for train-
ing, we do inside the class but also
outside the class," he said.
The AMTT's training has put the
artillerymen of the 111th Capital
Div's 1st and 2nd Bdes well ahead
of their anticipated training mile-
stones, confirmed by their live-fire
individual and collective competen-
cy achievements in November.
Guiding the AMTT is CO Lt-Col
Nick Bolton, who believes his small
team has had a profound effect on
the ANA they have been training.
"We have taken all of the artil-
lery elements of this division from
barely trained to a collective capa-
bility which is sufficient that they
can now lead in the production
and delivery of offensive support
to backup their operations and the
security of their country," he said.
"That's a fairly large achieve-
ment in just over three-and-half
months and we still have a little bit
of time to go where we're taking
them through more advanced train-
ing to make them even more capable
of leading and planning their own
operations for their future."
Australia has lifted ANA train-
ing outcomes, with the Australian
AMTT simultaneously training
two combat support kandaks and
a headquarters element -- a signifi-
cant increase in scope over previous
The AMTT has provided advice
at the higher brigade and divisional
levels, developing additional spe-
cialist training to ensure knowledge
and skills are maintained long after
the Australians have left.
The intensive four-month
Australian training program at
Pole-e-Charki provides remedia-
tion instruction to the ANA artillery
units fielded before the establish-
ment of the ANA School of Artillery
to bring them in line with the more
recently developed ANA practices
enduring effect on Afghanistan's transition
to self-sustained security responsibility.
"Ultimately we can see the fruit of
that now, with those trained soldiers being
fielded to operational kandaks and those
operational kandaks being utilised either
in the fight or at least supporting ISAF and
ANA operations," he said.
"I would see that continuing into the
future, noting that around a thousand per
year are trained at the school. The skill
base of the ANA artillery will continue to
develop as a result."
Skill set: ANA soldiers conduct artillery
training at the School of Artillery in
Photo by Cpl Christopher Dickson
WO2 Andrew Hetherington
ARTILLERYMEN from 102 Coral Bty
deployed with 7RAR Task Group in Tarin
Kot celebrated Saint Barbara's Day with
their Afghan National Army artillery col-
leagues on December 4.
Saint Barbara is the patron saint of
artillerymen worldwide, and on the day,
gunners pay homage to fallen comrades.
Battery Commander Maj Eugene
Shanasy said the event also had another
"We wanted to take the time to get to
know the members from the Tarin Kot-
based Afghan National Army 4th Kandak
Canon Tolay [Battery] and develop some
unity in the Afghanistan-based gunner
world," Maj Shanasy said.
"On this day we traditionally promote
our soldiers and acknowledge them for
Maj Shanasy said the day improved the
working relationship his men already had
with the ANA Canon Tolay.
"I have a warrant officer, a sergeant,
two gunners and a joint fires team who
will become more involved with their
training in the coming months," he said
"We'll assess their current competency
level and develop a continuation training
program that will become ANA-led.
"Our goal is for the ANA to have a
coordinated gunnery system which can
support their operations into the future."
are now better
transition to self-
-- WO1 Dean Sinclair,
Bdr Luke Roberts was promoted by
7RAR Task Group CO Lt-Col Malcolm
"It was a surprise to be promoted
today. It's my first time deployed over-
seas and today was something I won't
forget, along with celebrating Saint
Barbara's Day on operations," he said.
Battery Sergeant Major Asnodin, of
the 4th Kandak Canon Tolay, said it was a
good experience having his men working
with their Australian artillery advisers.
"My soldiers are now very profession-
al due to the work of the Australians,"
BSM Asnodin said.
Patron: 7RAR TG's Maj Eugene
Shanasy celebrates Saint Barbara's
Day with ANA BSM Asnodin, of the 4th
Kandak Canon Tolay.
Photo by WO2 Andrew Hetherington
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