LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan — U.S. Army soldiers with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, also known as Vanguard, recently advised Afghan National Army soldiers on a radio-communication system during a two-week course on Camp Maiwand.
The ANA personnel trained on the PRC-1099A, which is a high-frequency, man-portable radio that also can be used from an established base station.
The use of radio systems enables Afghan forces to communicate during operations and increases security for Afghan citizens.
During the training, ANA soldiers were taught how to load frequencies, trouble shoot basic problems and properly conduct preventive-maintenance checks and services.
“These soldiers came with little knowledge of how to operate and fix the radios,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. William Martin, the officer in charge of the training and a signal officer with the 36th Engineer Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas.
“Our goal was to find a common teaching ground and help these soldiers become better familiarized with their equipment,” said Martin, who is attached to a Vanguard Brigade Security Forces Advise and Assist Team.
When the course started, many of the classes were taught in a presentation setting, but the instructors learned that hands-on training was the best approach to overcome language barriers.
“The biggest challenge was teaching through an interpreter,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Casey Zaparinuk, a signal support systems specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th IBCT. “Not only do the students have to understand what you are instructing, but the interpreter does as well so they can properly translate the information for the student,” the La Quinta, Calif., native added.
Many students in the course never had worked with radios, but with the instructors’ assistance, they quickly found a common ground to conduct practical exercises, which provided a learning opportunity.
After the testing phase, the soldiers prepared to take what they learned back to their comrades and teach them the same skills.