Per Ardua, or Through Adversity, is the enduring axiom of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Regiment and it is just as reflective today of the pride its members take in their missions as in 1942 when the RAF Regiment was first conceived. At the Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC) located on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, their mission has taken on a new dimension as members of the RAF Regiment continue to uphold the long-standing tradition of excellence for which they have become known the world over.
Helping to build a professional army takes tremendous effort on the part of all involved and, in large measure, the progress the Afghan National Army (ANA) has made is due to the efforts of those RAF Regiment members deployed to Afghanistan.
Flight Lt. Chris Taylor has been with the RAF Regiment for three years now and is on his third deployment to Afghanistan. A young and energetic officer, Taylor’s contribution to the training mission in Kabul is significant.
“I work with J5 [Planning] and advise an ANA Colonel and Sergeant Major on course content, training schedules and the planning of exercises for the Officer Training Brigade,” said Taylor. “I have also been heavily involved with the transition planning and handover to the ANA. It is very demanding but I have gained a lot of experience for whatever my future role may be.”
Five years ago when Warrant Officer Richard “Dicky” Pyshorn deployed to Afghanistan for the first time, the ANA he saw was dramatically different from that which he sees today. At that time, they were poorly equipped and poorly organized with little logistical support. Now, when it comes to planning, logistical support or any number of other facets of military training, they are largely self-sufficient, with Afghans leading the way.
“The ANA moves steadily forward”, said Pyshorn. “But the biggest thing is that they are organizing their own training and delivering that training. And from the example of the recent attack [referring to the April 15, 2012 insurgent attacks in Kabul], they are more than capable of dealing with any insurgent activity in their own country.”
Based out of Camp Alamo and located on the grounds of KMTC, Pyshorn is the most recent of three RAF Regiment Warrant Officers who, over the last year and a half, have overseen the progress of over 60,000 ANA troops. Pyshorn is currently serving as the Regimental Sergeant Major to the KMTC Training Advisory Group (TAG), currently overseeing the efforts of more than 450 advisors from 16 contributing nations.
As members of the RAF Regiment, the work that both Taylor and Pyshorn perform is largely based around Army principles. Their area of expertise is force protection and at KMTC, providing advice to senior staff regarding force protection is a huge responsibility. The RAF Regiment takes pride in the unique ability to defend huge areas of ground with very few assets…areas of ground that are for the most part wide open spaces. In that regard, KMTC is on a similar scale to a large airfield, comprising over 16,000 acres of expansive Afghan territory.
When asked what he thinks he will take away from his experience in Afghanistan, Pyshorn’s answer is simple, “Hope and confidence that people like Company Sgt. Maj. Sayed and Brig. Gen. Patyani, who have worked with the Coalition for many years, are not going to let the Afghan army fail.”
NTM-A is a coalition of 38 troop-contributing nations charged with assisting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in generating a capable and sustainable Afghan National Security Force ready to take lead of their country’s security by 2014. For more information about NTM-A, visit www.ntm-a.com.
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Category: News - General
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