Advisor builds Afghan Army capacity
6 August 2015
Before Afghan soldiers can fight with 205 Hero Corps against the Taliban, they learn the basics of warfare at the Regional Military Training Centre outside Kandahar.
Recruits learn military skills, drill, weapons and section work during the nine-week Warrior Training Course run by Afghan instructors.
Capt Dan Gale, deployed to Operation HIGHROAD in Afghanistan is the only coalition advisor at the centre, working with the Afghan commander.
"A lot of the trainees are very keen and eager," he said.
"That's evident on march-out day, they have a lot of pride in their army and what they've achieved. It's great to see their force generation function working well."
As one of several regional military training centres around Afghanistan, they receive recruits after final medical and security screening in Kabul.
"Unlike the Australian Army, recruits are rarely afforded a preference on where they are posted," Capt Gale said.
"They're sent where soldiers are required around the country and it's not long after they complete their basic training that they're on operations.
"That’s why the quality of training here is important."
The top 200 recruits generally stay-on at the centre after graduation, with 100 starting a four-week team leader's course to become sergeants.
About 50 top soldiers go on to the eight-week combat medic's course at the nearby hospital, while a number are sometimes selected for drivers' course.
Capt Gale advises the centre's Afghan commander, Col Momand Haroon, and sometimes tries get extra aspects added to courses.
"An example is counter-IED training," Capt Gale said.
"I have been helping expand on their theory lessons to include more practical aspects such as a basic IED observation lane.
"It's a pretty set program of instruction for the trainees but I work with the staff to enhance the program wherever possible."
Col Haroon and Capt Gale meet up to five days per week to discuss current and upcoming courses along with any course issues arising.
About 30,000 personnel have graduated from the centre over the past six years with nearly 16,000 currently serving in 205 Corps.
"The bosses have been satisfied when the graduates report for duty, the result has been very positive," Col Haroon said.
"But it's not like I did this whole job. We have very good cooperation between the officers and teachers, that's why we present very professional personnel."
Capt Gale started work with Col Haroon in December last year and will continue until the main Australian force leaves Kandahar in October.
"He's not only my advisor, he's my best friend and he's always giving me good advice," Col Haroon said.
"After his service in Afghanistan is finished, I hope he gets a promotion to Major."