Navy Joins Other Services to Make Difference in Lives of Afghans


Story Number: NNS080226-30Release Date: 2/26/2008 3:49:00 PM
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From Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center Public Affairs

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (NNS) -- Almost 200 Navy individual augmentees (IAs) and their counterparts from the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, who together make up 12 combined Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), graduated basic combat skills and mission-specific training at Fort Bragg Feb. 23.

These Sailors will soon deploy to Afghanistan where they will partner with Afghan leadership in various provinces, providing security for aid workers and helping with reconstruction projects.

PRT missions are considered an "essential component" of a three-part strategy for Afghanistan - security, governance and development. The goal is to help spread stability in Afghanistan and to support the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in developing a more secure environment.

"PRT missions are making immeasurable differences in the everyday lives of the Afghan people by increasing their security capabilities, promoting self-reliance and prosperity, and solidifying trust and interoperability between the Afghan government and joint forces," said Cmdr. Thomas Trotter, executive officer of the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center (ECRC).

Some leaders believe that in today's complex global environment, promoting prosperity and peace builds mutually beneficial partnerships and establishes the trust needed to prevent future conflicts.

Additionally, many facets of PRT missions support goals outlined in the Navy's maritime strategy, which highlights the need to strengthen existing and emerging alliances and establish favorable security conditions.

"This is important whether operating in a maritime environment or in a landlocked country like Afghanistan," Trotter said.

Many of the multi-service graduates said they are looking forward to the challenges of this mission and are grateful for the Bragg-based training where they received cultural and language training as part of the 189th Infantry Brigade's curriculum.

"As they work in Afghanistan's provinces to provide security for aid workers and to help reconstruction work, [PRT members] will need to have a good understanding of the culture and language," said Lt. Cmdr. Lee Parker, ECRC's PRT coordinator. "Their ability to be seen by the people with whom they will be working as understanding and treating them with respect will go far in building trust and cooperation. This will be key to their mission success."

Bringing service members together from all the services included some team building exercises as well.

"It's one of the most important keys...being able to hold the tightness together and understand where each other is coming from because when we get over there, we're going to depend on each other more than anything," said Air Force Senior Airman Shannon Gruett.

Of the 12 PRT teams, six are led by Navy commanding officers that were specifically screened to lead PRT missions.

"The PRT missions are a prime example of successful active reserve integration under the total force concept," said Trotter. "Approximately one-third of the Sailors heading out to embark on this mission are reservists. We simply cannot accomplish the mission without them."

The IA Sailors who make up the Navy-led PRTs will serve in Farah, Ghazni, Sharana, Asad Abad, Nuristan and Khowst.

ECRC makes sure IA Sailors are properly prepared for their joint-mission assignments. The center provides Navy liaison officers at Fort Bragg and 12 other Army training sites to coordinate and supervise the training, equipping and processing of Navy IAs as they prepare to man PRTs and other joint forces billets around the world.

ECRC who maintains administrative oversight of deployed IAs is part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC).

NECC centrally manages the current and future readiness, resources, manning, training and equipping of approximately 40,000 expeditionary Sailors who are currently serving in every theater of operation. NECC is a global force provider of adaptive force packages of expeditionary capabilities to joint warfighting commanders.

For more news from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/necc/.

 
 
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