CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan -- Soldiers with the 215th Corps, Afghan National Army conducted D-30 122 mm howitzer training aboard Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 7.
The training is part of a six-week course that gives Afghan instructors the opportunity to train their fellow soldiers on the howitzer weapons system. Prior to the course, the soldiers are assigned one of three roles required to operating the D-30. They either become a gun lineman, forward observer or become part of the fire direction cell. All three trades must fluidly work together to ensure the howitzer operates properly and effectively.
Each job has a role in ensuring the accuracy of the D-30. The gun linemen are responsible for setting up the weapon system, ensuring it is level, loading the artillery for firing, and making proper firing adjustments based on the data they receive. The role of the forward observers is to gather and relay target information to direct artillery fire. The forward observers pass this information to the fire direction cell. Once the fire direction cell receives the information from the forward observers, they are responsible for converting that into data to pass to the gun linemen to use for firing the howitzer.
“It is important we teach this structure to the Afghan soldiers because they need to understand it all, by the book, to operate the howitzer correctly,” said Bombardier Edward Toma, British Army instructor with Regional Corps Battle School, Regional Command (Southwest). “They need to learn it well so they can eventually carry out their own operations without the support of the International Security Assistance Force. This structure also helps with making the artillery being fired more effective, more efficient and accurate.”
The Afghan instructors, who were students themselves not too long ago, are now responsible for training their fellow soldiers.
Afghan National Army Lt. Shahedullah, a gun line instructor with 215th Corps, RCBS, who was recently a student himself, said he was grateful for the coalition instructors’ patience when teaching him and passing on all of their knowledge of the weapon system when he attended the training.
“They trained us very well,” said Shahedullah. “It was very important that I learned everything and made sure I understood it all because now it is my turn to teach. I feel confident in my training, and that I can teach these students well because of everything I have learned from my instructors.”
Afghan National Army Staff Sgt. Jumakhan, a gun lineman student with 215th Corps, said his Afghan instructors are doing a good job at teaching them how to work the weapon system.
“This is good for us to learn,” said Jumakhan. “I need to learn all this to protect my country. They are teaching me so I can go back to my unit and will be able to teach and share my knowledge with my fellow soldiers. Learning is important for everyone. We must learn all we can to make our country and ourselves better and stay ahead of the enemy.”