27 Feb 2007

PR# 2007-134

Afghan military officers visit Bagram Airfield

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Eight Afghan Army Air Corps officers visited ISAF troops from the 455th Expeditionary Mission Support Group (EMSG) Feb. 20. The group consisted of mission support officers who came to exchange ideas with their Air Force counterparts.

“They learned a lot,” said Capt. Tommy Butler, Air Corps Advisory Group mentor. “The Afghans don’t have a complete infrastructure yet. They came to see what a full operation looks like.”

“They also came to see our organizational structure,” said Col. Terri Chaney, 455th EMSG commander. “It is actually a mentoring program for the Afghan officers. Their organization has a structure similar to ours with only slight differences.”

Squadron commanders from the 455th EMSG accompanied their Afghan counterparts throughout the seven-hour visit. The Afghan officers were briefed on the Air Force organizational structure and were provided an overview of the Joint Logistics Center.

Lt. Col. Steven Johnson, 455th Expeditionary Mission Support Squadron commander, said this was the first time he got a chance to speak to Afghans since he arrived here.

The group toured departments such as services, security forces, personnel, supply, vehicle operations, civil engineering, aerial port and communications. At each location, the Afghans were shown how that organization worked.

One of the main differences the Afghans noticed is chain-of-command duties. The Afghan officers said they handle even the smallest tasks themselves rather than delegating them to the lower ranks. Also, in their units it is common for visitors to walk right in to speak with a commanding officer without speaking to an executive officer or Non-Commissioned Officer first.

“The thing that impressed the Afghans the most was the duties of our non-commissioned officers,” said Johnson. “They were surprised at how much responsibility we gave our NCOs.”

Butler said ISAF is setting up mentoring programs such as this all over Afghanistan. “I think this was a ground-breaking event,” said Maj. Corey Ramsby, 54th Expeditionary Combat Communications Squadron commander. “It’s quite humbling to see the beginnings of a country’s air force. My counterpart was impressed with what we have here.

The Air Force squadron commanders were impressed by the Afghans’ dedication and how hard they were trying to make their air corps work. “We will continue to support the Afghan Army Air Corps,” said Chaney. “Next time, we will go to their base in Kabul and exchange more ideas.”

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/