Sailors Train for Mission in Afghanistan

Story Number: NNS060414-17Release Date: 4/14/2006 1:30:00 PM
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By Lt. Karin Burzynski, Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force Public Affairs

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (NNS) -- About 200 active and Reserve Sailors undergoing predeployment training at Camp Shelby, Miss., reached the midway point of 60 days of Army combat survival training April 14.

They received orders directing them to the Navy Mobilization Processing Site in Norfolk with follow-on training at Camp Shelby, near Hattiesburg, Miss. Their mission is to work with joint U.S. forces in small teams called Embedded Training Teams, or ETTs, teaching military doctrine to the Afghanistan National Army (ANA).

"Our training here and subsequent mission in Afghanistan is a prime example of how the role of the military is slowly shifting," said Capt. Joseph Green, commander of the Navy ETTs.

The Sailors are undergoing required Army training for deployment into Afghanistan and will primarily help teach, coach and mentor Afghanistan National Army counterparts with logistics and how to operate a base. The Navy ETTs will teach command and control; communications; facilities engineering; food service; fuel; logistics; and medical support. They will also directly support ANA and Task Force Phoenix with expertise in construction contract management and installation facilities management, as well as contracting purchasing process management.

The Army is teaching the Sailors combat survivability skills, which includes night vision goggle driving, night fire and daylight weapons qualification, convoy operations, urban operations, language and cultural awareness, improvised explosive device awareness and land navigation.

"This training is vital," Rear Adm. Hank Tomlin, commander, Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group said. "It wouldn't bother me at all if they never had to put this training into practice. But we want them to be safe and well trained - and, that's what the training at Camp Shelby is all about."

The training includes a lot of repetition, especially with weapons handling, said Army Col. Mark Fields, commander, 2nd Brigade.

"We're building an instinctive response. Repetition breeds intuition - intuition to sense danger," he said.

These Sailors will deploy with the 41st Oregon Combat Brigade Team (CBT) next month from Camp Shelby with Brigadier Gen. Douglas Pritt, commanding general of Task Force Phoenix.

"The Sailors are adaptable," said Brig. Gen. Pitt. "They didn't come with any bad habits - they've never cleared a room before. They are paying attention and learning well. The reports are glowing."

This will not be the first time the Navy has worked with the 41st Brigade Combat Team, Pritt said. Both assisted with relief efforts after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"During Operation Southern Relief in September 2005, we worked together and helped rescue 1,200 people in two days," Gen. Pritt added.

The Sailors have orders for 540 days, which allows time for mobilization, pre-deployment training, one year, "boots on ground," and demobilization for Reservists and return to parent commands for active-duty Sailors.

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Sailors from Embedded Training Team Lima prepare to use the training they received from the soldiers during an urban exercise.
060408-N-5330L-277 Camp Shelby, Miss. (April 8, 2006) - Sailors from Embedded Training Team Lima prepare to use the training they received from the soldiers during an urban exercise. Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group in Williamsburg, Va., activated the reservists in support of an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Matthew D. Leistikow
April 11, 2006
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