Story by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Melissa Mekpongsatorn
438th Air Expeditionary Wing,
NATO Air Training Command – Afghanistan, Public Affairs
NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan
The Afghan Air Force’s newest 16 Mi-17 helicopter technicians crossed a stage Dec. 20 at the Kabul International Airport, receiving certificates from Afghan AF leaders, Mongolian advisers, and 438th Expeditionary Wing leadership. The graduation ceremony recognized the technicians’ completion of an eleven-week Mi-17 ‘Engine & Body’ course, the ninth class the Mongolians have advanced in partnership with the Afghan AF maintenance functional experts at the AAF Pohantoon-e-Hawayee (PeH) technical school.
”Since the beginning of our work in 2010, we’ve graduated 130 students,” said Officer-in-Charge Lt. Col. Gankhuyag Zundui. Each class has been increasingly instructed and led by a team of Afghan instructors, he explained, with the adviser roles shifting from direct instruction to mentorship of the Afghan instructors throughout the course.
This specific course involves 250 hours of classes on avionics, engine and body work, 146 practical hours and 100 hours devoted to theory. The students take two examinations during course completion.
“Both the American and Afghan sides helped us conduct this course,” said Zundui. These developments were a team effort, he explained, with a number of special players in the liaison and interpretation roles. “The interpreters and Afghan instructors really helped bridge the Afghans and Mongolians. We appreciate all they did to help us understand each other.”
We’ve worked between English, Russian, Dari and Mongolian languages, told 1st Lt. Ganchuluun Turbat, liaison officer for the Mongolian Air Force Mentoring Team.
For this ninth class, a member of the first Mongolian personnel rotation in 2010 was present to assist. Returning after more than two years, Lt. Enkh-amgalan Sosorbaram said he saw improvements.
“The environment has changed; the cooperation and partnership have improved,” said Sosorbaram. “My first student is now an instructor.”
The course graduates will fill maintenance positions in Mi-17 units throughout Afghanistan. The next class is slated to begin in January 2013.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 & NATC-A/438th AEW, visit www.ntm-a.com and www.438aew.afcent.af.mil
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