Afghan Air Force ‘Excels’ at computer skills

2012/11/02 • Comments

Story by Staff Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn
438th Air Expeditionary Wing

A few months ago, 27 Afghan Air Force members at the Kabul, Afghanistan, International Airport didn’t even know how to save files on a computer. Now they are building spreadsheets on Microsoft Excel and training other AAF soldiers.

Afghan Air Force Lt. Abdul Ghafer volunteers to demonstrate what he has learned in class at the Kabul, Afghanistan, International Airport. Ghafer was one of 27 students to take part in computer classes taught by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Fred Anane, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Plans and Scheduling advisor and Master Sgt. Mark Jansen, 438th AEAG Quality Assurance advisor, for AAF schedulers, mission operations control center personnel and analyst soldiers. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn)

But that didn’t happen overnight; it took 13 lessons and several months of commitment by two Air Force master sergeants and several Afghan Air Force members.

“We had several Excel programs that were built for our schedulers, mission operations control center personnel and analyst, but only one Afghan Air Force member knew how to use it,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Fred Anane, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Plans and Scheduling Advisor. “So we started one-on-one training, however they were not passing along the information, so I thought maybe I should start teaching a computer basics class.”

Anane, with the help of Master Sgt. Mark Jansen, 438th AEAG Quality Assurance advisor, started developing the class in April, research was done. The two researched how to teach a computer classes and they specifically focused on the Excel program. The first couple of classes that were taught went over the basic hardware of the computer.

After a few classes about hardware, they moved on to teaching such things as how to save and move files, and finally moved on to building documents in the Excel program.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Fred Anane, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Plans and Scheduling advisor, assists Afghan Air Force Lt. Abdul Ghafer during computer class at the Kabul, Afghanistan, International Airport. Anane, with the help of Master Sgt. Mark Jansen, 438th AEAG Quality Assurance advisor, developed computer classes for AAF schedulers, mission operations control center personnel and analyst soldiers.(Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn)

Teaching the AAF soldiers the Excel program was the final and most important part of the classes. The jobs that these AAF soldiers have require such tasks as building weekly flight schedules and daily aircraft status updates, and tracking flying hours. All of these things are more easily easier managed through spreadsheets.

“Since Fred started teaching this computer class, we have learned a lot about Excel. It will help us with doing scheduling and analysis,” said AAF 1st Lt. Mira Jan, helicopter analyst. “It is a very interesting program and I am very grateful that our mentors have facilitated this for us.”

The classes were taught every Monday and Tuesday for an hour and a half. The students were also assigned assignments to complete outside of the classes.

“He started with basic information at the beginning and gave us lots of homework. He explained a lot and I learned a lot. He was very good at explaining and I appreciate it,” said AAF Maj. Din Muhammad, scheduler.

The 27 students finished all 13 lessons and received certificates of completion.

“I am impressed with how far they have come,” said Anane. “Everyone in the class has moved up from having no knowledge at all.”

Now that the lessons are complete, the students’ real test will be applying what they have learned to their jobs.

“They have all the tools. They just have to hone their skills,” added Jansen.

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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Category: News - Afghan Air Force, News - News

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