September 12, 2008
Brigade Embedded Training Team departs for mobilization training
By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs
A team of 16 Virginia National Guard Soldiers held a brief departure at the Sandston Armory Sept. 4 to mark their active duty mobilization for service as a Brigade Embedded Training Team for the Afghan National Army. The team will train at Fort Riley, Kan. until early November, and then will deploy to Afghanistan to begin their mission in late November.
The team is made up of senior officers and noncommissioned officers from all over Virginia. The Soldiers were selected for the mission because of their experience, and that experience will be combined with the two months of validation training they will receive at Fort Riley to be fully prepared for the mission, said Col. Mike Harris, senior mentor of the team.
“We have a mature and seasoned group,” he said. “They will get all the skill sets required to do the training, and I am comfortable and confident this group will meet the challenge and do well.”
The Battalion Embedded Training Team from the Virginia National Guard mobilized for duty Aug. 18 from Fort Pickett.
“You are going to do a tough mission, but it's a mission should bring a lot of pride to each and every one of you,” said Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “You are going forward to help a struggling nation get on its feet and bring democracy to that part of the world and help make America safer.”
Newman announced June 3 that the Virginia National Guard has received mobilization orders to form two units with the mission of training the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The orders call for the Virginia Guard to form two embedded training teams, each consisting of 16 Soldiers. One team will work with an Afghan National Army brigade of approximately 1,500 Afghan soldiers, the other will work with a battalion of approximately 500 soldiers.
“The mission to train and mentor the Afghan National Army is an important one,” Newman said. “Our Soldiers will be able to share their experience in a variety of areas to help make the Afghan Army a more professional and competent organization. The efforts of our Virginia Guard Soldiers will help contribute to greater stability in the region.”
“The Brigade and Battalion ETTs will provide training and mentoring to the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police in order to continue to stabilize the police and military forces in Afghanistan,” said Maj. Mike Martin of Afton, the senior mentor of the battalion team. “Soldiers will provide mentoring to their Afghan counterparts in logistics, tactics, strategic planning, military decision-making process, and battalion and brigade level staff operations. The trainers will be embedded with Afghan counterparts and will live, train and fight alongside them.”