Photo, caption below.

 

 

Members of the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Regiment pose next to an M113A2 with some of the Afghan National Army soldiers they trained. From left are 1st Sgt. Bobby Duggins of Charleston, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Rector of Union, and Maj. Greg Cornell of Columbia. They are part of a group of embedded training team advisors from Task Force Phoenix assigned to train the Afghan National Army’s mechanized kandak. Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mack Davis

 

 

 

Afghan Army Gets Armored Personnel Carriers

 

 

South Carolina National Guard troops are tasked to
train Afghan soldiers to operate and maintain the new vehicles.

 

By U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mack Davis
Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan Public Affairs

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 28, 2005 — The Afghan National Army is getting a new look over the next few months. As a result of a recent equipment donation, they will appear a little less Soviet and a little more like their Coalition partners.

The Afghan National Army recently took delivery of 10 M113A2 armored personnel carriers from the United States at Camp Pol-e-Charkhi, on the outskirts of Kabul. This was the first shipment of vehicles with more to follow.

Lt. Col. David Braxton, logistics operations chief at the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan, said, “Based on the force structure designed for Afghanistan’s internal threat, armored personnel carriers were identified as a requirement for the Afghanistan National Army.

The U.S. M113A2s are an excess defense article, which allows them to be donated. Given the performance and popularity of the M113s around the world, it is an excellent match for the (Afghan National Army’s) (armored personnel carrier) requirement.”

“The (Afghan National Army) soldiers in the mechanized 2nd Kandak that we have been working with are just ingenious; they have the ability to take any mission and figure out a way to accomplish it. They have done phenomenal things with minimum resources,” U.S. Army Maj. Greg Cornell

 

 The M113s already have a home. They will become part of the 2nd Kandak (Battalion) Mechanized Infantry, in the 201st Corps’ 3rd Brigade, located in Kabul.

The 218th Infantry Regiment of the South Carolina Army National Guard, part of Task Force Phoenix, has been tasked with training the Afghan National Army to operate and maintain the new vehicles.

According to 1st Sgt. Bobby Duggins, one of the kandak’s embedded training team advisors, “The (Afghan National Army) soldiers are totally excited about receiving this vehicle. The M113 is a new vehicle for them and there is always a level of excitement when you introduce something new.”

“Because this (armored personnel carrier) is so versatile, it can be used in many ways,” added Duggins. While the Afghan National Army will use the armored personnel carriers primarily to transport troops, Duggins added that the M113 “can also be used as a squad heavy weapon (to fire mortars), and it can be used by medical units and maintenance teams going into the battlefield.”

In addition to the 10 M113s that arrived recently, Braxton said, “We expect 45 M113s and 16 M577s (command vehicles) to begin arriving the second week in May. The remaining vehicles will be in country throughout the next month for a total of 63 M113s and 16 M577s.”

Because the 2nd Kandak Mechanized team was previously fielded with another armored personnel carrier, the Soviet BMP1, training on the M113 was a smooth transition.

Prior to the arrival of the U.S. M113s, the kandak soldiers were trained by the International Security Assistance Force’s Norwegian Battle Group using five modified M113s they deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year. According to Lt. Col. Jon Mangersnes, Norwegian Battle Group commander, “We conducted two weeks of practical training. This type of training cannot be conducted in a class room; you have to get hands on the vehicle.”

The training covered the basic operation and maintenance of the M113, including how to start, steer and maneuver, and how to manipulate the operator switches. “It was a lot of fun for my guys,” added Mangersnes. “The Afghan soldiers were very receptive to the training and the younger soldiers are extremely proud to be in the Afghan Army.”

Photo, caption below.

Cranes are used to download an M113A2 armored personnel carrier from its transport vehicle at Camp Pol-e-Charkhi, Afghanistan, April 20, 2005. Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Frederick Rice

South Carolina Army National Guardsman 1st Sgt. Bobby Duggins, the 2nd Kandak’s embedded training team advisor, provides last-minute instruction to Afghan National Army soldiers before they depart Camp Pol-e-Charkhi to drive their M113A2 armored personnel carriers to Kabul for a fresh painting. Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Army Capt. Mark Stachelski

This is not the first time the Norwegians have worked with the Afghan National Army. The battle group provides security in the Kabul area and often trains and works with the Afghan National Army.

Future training on the M113s will be provided to new soldiers during basic training at the Kabul Military Training Center by U.S. and Coalition mobile training teams.

The total donation, including repair parts, is estimated to be worth $10 million.

The U.S. is the only country providing the M113s, ensuring that all the M113 variants are the same so they will be less expensive to maintain.

“To sustain the M113s here in country, the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Brigade is receiving a one-year stock level of repair parts,” said New Hampshire Army National Guardsman Chief Warrant Officer Gill Colon, the Task Force Phoenix logistics officer and embedded training team advisor to the 3rd Brigade.

In order to support the M113s in Pol-e-Charkhi, several changes had to be made. “We have converted our warehouse to accommodate the (armored personnel carrier) spare parts and have converted some of the Quonset huts into maintenance bays,” said Colon.

The maintenance for the M113 fleet will be conducted by Afghan National Army mechanics who will be trained by U.S. mobile training teams.

Photo, caption below.

An Afghan National Army soldier looks out from the driver’s hatch of a recently donated M113A2 armored personnel carrier. Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mack Davis

The South Carolina Army National Guardsmen who normally train the 2nd Kandak will be leaving Afghanistan in a few months.

According to the unit’s executive officer, Maj. Greg Cornell, “We want to get the (Afghan National Army) mechanized team at least to team-level proficiency on the M113 before we leave. A special range is being prepared so that we can work on maneuvers and team-level live-fire exercises.”

Cornell added, “The range training will teach the (Afghan National Army) soldiers to take two vehicles, placing one in an overwatch (security) position, and the other in a position so that the dismounts can flank the enemy and engage. We also want the (Afghan National Army) to be able to move and provide weapons fire.”

Cornell said, “The (Afghan National Army) soldiers in the mechanized 2nd Kandak that we have been working with are just ingenious; they have the ability to take any mission and figure out a way to accomplish it. They have done phenomenal things with minimum resources. As we (coalition partners) are able to provide more resources and support, there won’t be much they will not be able to accomplish.”

The Afghan people will get their first look at their army’s newly painted M113s at the Afghan National Day Parade, scheduled for April 28 in Kabul.