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Pope Airman helps expand Afghanistan's capabilities

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Adam Crown
  • 43rd AG PAO
Coming from all corners of Afghanistan, Afghan airmen travel to attend the Basic Intelligence Course run by the Combined Air Power Transition Force mentors at the Afghan Air Force base in Kabul.

Tech. Sgt. Lee Marsters, 43rd Operation Support Squadron, deployed as an Afghan air force intelligence adviser and Combined Air Power Transition Force Intelligence mentor to Kabul, Afghanistan to help instruct the Basic Intelligence Course for the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group.

"The course teaches everything from critical thinking and analysis, mission planning, classified information protection and security, to the creation and delivery of a professional military intelligence brief in support of Afghanistan's air force flying operations," said Sergeant Marsters.

The class is based on North Atlantic Treaty Organization standards, so all material was written and taught to support NATO air operations. Each of the graduates completed 210 hours of classroom instruction covering more than 50 topics and must maintain a 70 percent grade point average or higher to graduate.

"The students have overcome many challenges to reach this stage in their career progression," said Sergeant Marsters. "The participants, in conjunction with our outstanding Afghan interpreters, made a great team; without every student's attention these classes would not have been possible. Our success in graduating all of them has only come about due to their dedication to their country and their military."

The training was conducted because there was a need to develop a professional intelligence capability in Afghanistan. They will be responsible for utilizing what they have been taught and applying it to Afghan air force missions including air assault, humanitarian airlift, and combat mission support.

"Without these skills, the Afghan air force cannot be a part of NATO," said Sergeant Marsters. "This is only the second, four-month course that has been taught. Other intelligence courses being taught by coalition partners were not capable of addressing intelligence support to air operations."

The course Sergeant Marsters taught not only strengthens the Afghan air force, but it also focuses on professionalism and teamwork.

"This is one of the only courses that combines officer and enlisted members in a combined course where they have to learn to respect one another and work as a team to graduate," said Sergeant Marsters. "Our class also serves to reinforce the need for proper chain of command and discipline from a headquarters level down to the squadron level. Additionally, it gives the Afghan air force the ability to work with other nations on the level that NATO operates."

According to Maj. Eric Larson, Combined Air Power Transition Force Intelligence mentor to the Kabul Wing senior intelligence office the complex of document security, intelligence-operations cycle, strategy and pulse Doppler radar theory curriculum is difficult to comprehend. The learning capabilities of the Afghan students made it all possible.

"This was difficult material and the Afghans got it," said Major Larson. "It's a tribute to the hard work of the CAPTF Intel NCO mentors, like Sergeant Marsters, the deep topical and language understanding of the translators and the learning capabilities of the Afghan students. They all reached this graduation milestone, a team effort from beginning to end."

After the graduation all of the students will go to their respective units across Afghanistan.

"We have students here from Jalalabad, Herat, Shin and, Kandahar, Kabul, and Mazar-e-Sharif," said Sergeant Marsters. "Our class leader and his deputy will be working in Kandahar. They graduated with honors meaning they had a 90 percent or better grade point average. The civilians will be course directors out at the Afghan air force air school during the next class. I am very excited for the graduates to go into the field and start doing their jobs."

The entire class will be moving to new jobs following graduation. Some will return to their home units in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif. Others will be assigned to Jalalabad and Kandahar, while some will stay here at Kabul and become a part of Kabul Wing Training School. They will be the first intelligence professionals of their kind in the Afghan air force and they will be responsible to lead their air force into a successful future.

"The Afghan military is lucky to have the international forces here helping to train and equip us," said Brig. Gen. Mohammed Barat, Kabul Air Wing commander. "That is the best thing for the Afghan armed forces and classes such as this because with each graduating course we become better equipped as a