By LT David P. Varney MSC, United States Navy
Regional Support Command-West, Public Affairs Representative
NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan
Training Support Site (TSS) Shouz formally transitioned to Afghan National Army (ANA) control at a ceremony held at the facility Aug. 15.
A delegation from the 207th Corps, the Regional Support Command-West command team and the key staff of contract personnel who supported the base for the past few years attended the ceremony.
On the 207th side, ANA Lt. Col. Sadudin, G-3 Operations Officer and members of the 6/1/207 Kandak (battalion), who the base was transitioned to, represented the Afghan forces. For the coalition, the RSC-W Transition Team led by U.S. Army Col. Keith Detwiler, RSC-W Commander, and U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Mark Huston attended the event.
Detwiler, speaking just before the Afghan flag was raised at the site said, “It’s an honor to stand here with the forces of the Afghan National Army and International Security Assistance Forces. This significant ceremony marks the continued progress of transition in the West.”
He went on to say, “This was first seen in the transition of training functions — where NATO trainers once trained Afghan recruits, it is now Afghan officers and noncommissioned officers who are responsible for this training. We are now transitioning sites and facilities so that the coalition contributions that are represented here may continue to be used in support of the Afghan National Army so it may continue to bring peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan.”
The facilities at Shouz were originally built at a cost of $4 million by the US State Department and were used as a concrete plant in the construction of Highway 1. After construction was completed, the site was gifted to the Ministry of the Interior, who turned the site into an Afghan Border Police (ABP) Training Center. The ABP Training Center was recently consolidated with the Regional Training Center at Adraskan, explained US Army Capt. Jeff Marsteller, ANA Operations Officer at RSC-W.
The 207th Corps was planning to build a facility at a cost of $6 million at an alternate location from TSS Shouz. TSS Shouz was scheduled to be demolished at a cost of $1.5 million. The former commander of RSC-West, Col. Roderick T. Arrington, offered the site to the ANA 207th Corps, who decided that it would be a good location for two Companies from the 6/1 Kandak. This action negated the need to build a new site for the Kandak, saving $11.5 million in total costs, Marsteller said.
Sadudin, also speaking before the flag raising ceremony said, “on behalf of the 207th Corps, I am very proud to say we are ready and fully committed to transition this facility to our control. I am very proud to have worked with our ISAF and coalition partners to make this a reality.”
Marsteller is also proud to see the facility transition and believes the Afghans are ready to take the lead. “When you first start the transition you wonder if the unit is ready. After having worked with the 207th Corps you can see how capable and eager they are to take the lead. Lt. Col. Sadadin and Lt. Col. Wajed of the 207th Corps are true professionals who have integrity. With Afghan leadership such as theirs the Afghan National Army’s future is bright.”
Marsteller sees this achievement as a diligent, joint milestone for everyone involved. “The transition is a culmination of months of work to ensure the Afghan Army is set up for success. When the Afghan flag was raised it truly became the symbol of a successful US/Afghan team effort.”
NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan is a coalition of 38 troop contributing nations 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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