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Afghan National Army soldiers from the 215th Corps listen to the guest speakers during their graduation of the up-armored humvee course at the Joint Security Academy Southwest, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. The soldiers participated in a five-week course that taught the basic fundamentals of driving.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jeremy Fasci

First Afghan soldiers graduate from UAH course

26 Aug 2010 | Lance Cpl. Jeremy Fasci

Forty-one soldiers from the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps graduated from the first up-armored humvee course at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Aug. 26.

The course is one of many established to build upon the basic training taught at the Joint Security Academy Southwest.

“This course is one that we have started so far in the continuation training process,” said Col. Robert Golden, director of Afghan national security forces development for Regional Command Southwest. “The one issue we have here in Afghanistan is that we have been doing a lot of basic training with the police and the army. The follow-on training or continuation training is what needs to be addressed now. That’s the future for Afghanistan.”

Soldiers were taught basic fundamentals of driving up-armored humvees and light tactical vehicles. They were also taught preventative maintenance to help soldiers keep vehicles in good condition.

Soldiers can learn to drive in a couple of hours. Learning how to fix the vehicles takes time and is just as important, said Brigadier Gen. Sayed Malouk, the commanding general of the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps.

First, the soldiers are trained on the M-1114 up-armored humvee. This humvee is modeled after the original M-998 humvee with about 2,000 pounds of plating added for protection. Equipped with a turret the humvee provides protection during convoy operations and improve security capabilities in non-kinetic situations.

Another staple in the Afghan National Army’s transportation arsenal is a quad-cab, Ford Ranger dubbed the light tactical vehicle. Transporting troops in the open back of the vehicle is a tricky task to master. This method, though, allows for much faster movement than the humvee.

To help these soldiers overcome the challenges presented driving tactical vehicles, and for most the lack of overall driving experience, the five-week course addressed the basics.

“The five-week training was very good,” Malouk said. “Keep the things you have learned here in your mind when you leave.”

The students first spent classroom time learning the controls and capabilities of the vehicles. They were then taken to Camp Shorabak for practical application. Each vehicle was used in separate portions of the course.

After mastering driving on improved surfaces the soldiers were given the challenge of driving off-road. Off-road driving is vital to operational success in the rural region these in which the soldiers operate.

Keeping two separate courses for the humvee and light tactical vehicle allowed the instructors to make sure each student was retaining the information being taught in the classroom.

Before graduation the students were required to pass a final exam incorporating all the skills taught.

“Hopefully as a result of this course, we will prevent the loss of lives in the future,” Golden said.