Tajikistan SPP information exchange focuses on basic Soldiering skills

Members of the Tajik military demonstrate how to search an enemy combatant during a three-week information exchange with members of the Virginia National Guard June 19- July 13, 2012.

SANDSTON, Va. — Members of the Virginia Army National Guard traveled to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, for a three-week mission in support of the State Partnership Program between Virginia and Tajikistan. While there, the seven-man team traveled to Shamsi Military Base in Dushanbe June 28- July 6 and worked with with the Tajikistan Army Peacekeeping Battalion’s junior leaders on basic Soldiering tasks. The team used their areas of expertise, ranging from combat arms to combat service support, to provide the Tajik Soldiers a broad perspective for conducting operations.

The exchange began with a meeting with the deputy battalion commander to provide a snapshot of the team’s capabilities and establish areas of focus. The commander selected 16 warrant officers, which are comparable to noncommissioned officers in the U.S. Army, to attend the workshop based on performance and previous experience with American personnel.

The Soldiers of the two nations exchanged information on basic Soldier skills, such as Troop Leading Procedures, Escalation of Force, and Mission Analysis, and progressed into demonstrations on the military base’s training grounds. 

Tajik Soldiers demonstrate small-unit movement techniques to Virginia National Guard Soldiers. The Soldiers of the two nations exchanged information on basic Soldier skills, such as Troop Leading Procedures, Escalation of Force, and Mission Analysis, and progressed into demonstrations.

The Tajik warrant officers displayed enthusiasm and a willingness to learn,” said Sgt. 1st Class Alan Sloan, the mission’s noncommissioned officer in charge. Sloan acted as the primary demonstrator for the field-craft segment, and utilized his previous combat and peacekeeping deployments to explain American concepts and techniques.    

The week concluded with a one-hour event encompassing all the week’s topics. This exercise allowed the Tajik Soldiers to demonstrate their proficiency in small-unit operations, performing tasks common to U.N. peacekeeping missions, such as patrolling and running checkpoints.

The week was also highlighted by daily soccer games between the Virginia team and the Tajik Soldiers, in spite of the nearly 100 degree weather.

“It’s good to relate to the Tajiks outside of the military mindset,” said 1st Lt. David Worley. “It helps them become more comfortable around us as we share a common interest in sports.” The host nation proved generous and gracious on the sports field, limiting themselves to single-digit victories over the Americans.