Photo Information

Afghan National Army soldiers with the 215th Corps perform a simulated casualty evacuation during a helicopter training exercise as part of the Noncommissioned Officer Battle Course aboard Camp Shorabak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 19, 2014. The 10-week course provides the ANA soldiers with map-reading skills, small-arms weapons handling, and mounted and dismounted patrolling training. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Joshua Young)

Photo by Cpl. Joshua Young

Afghan soldiers conduct helicopter training during Noncommissioned Officer Battle Course

3 Mar 2014 | Cpl. Joshua Young

Soldiers with the Afghan National Army conducted helicopter training as part of the Noncommissioned Officer Battle Course aboard Camp Shorabak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 19.

The class provided Afghan soldiers the opportunity to become familiar with boarding helicopters, loading casualties and providing security for landing zones. Many of the Afghan soldiers had never been in or around a helicopter prior to the course.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, to get the opportunity to train our troops on casualty evacuations and getting them familiar with the air and learning how to get in and out of the helicopters,” said Lt. Col. Rohullah Z, the operations officer for Regional Corps Battle School, 215th Corps, Afghan National Army.

The NCOBC is a 10-week program, which reviews previous lessons learned and instructs the soldiers further in map-reading skills, small-arms weapons handling, and mounted and dismounted patrolling.

“It’s forming them into leaders,” said Sgt. Anthony Davis, an advisor and team leader for the classes with Regional Corps Battle School. “They’re going to be the ones taking over when we leave. They’re building a foundation of instructors to teach the rest of the ANA some of these skills.”

Upon finishing the program, the soldiers receive a promotion and some are selected to teach the next group of students. Those selected go through a train-the-trainer program, which teaches them how to instruct the NCOBC.

“Some of these guys have really stepped up and become pretty decent instructors,” Davis said. “It’s almost all Afghan-run, and they’ve come along really well.”

The Afghan soldiers performed the training with intensity, smiling faces and confidence. The Marine instructors oversaw the training to provide help if needed, although the Afghan instructors proved they are fully capable of teaching their own as the training went down without a hitch. 

“I want to express my appreciation to all our advisor teams who’ve been helping train the ground troops,” said Lt. Col. Nazar M. Azizi, a pilot with Kandahar Air Wing. “I want them to continue their help, and one day, hopefully we’ll be confident enough to stand on our own and defend this country. Hopefully one day there is no fight and no war, and we can welcome you in a peaceful Afghanistan.”