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Handbook 10-10
Nov 2009

Chapter 9

Lessons Learned

"The focus of all we do is the Afghan people, and our intent in everything we do is to separate the people physically and psychologically from the enemy."

-Commander, Combined Task Force Currahee

Agribusiness development teams (ADTs) have learned numerous lessons during their existence. The sharing of these lessons is vital so other ADTs do not have to relearn the same lessons, possibly due to the loss of a Soldier. Following are some of those lessons to assist ADTs preparing for deployment.


Premobilization Training Checklist

  • Identify and confirm the location of the mobilization training center (MTC).
  • Identify ADT key leaders.
  • Identify the ADT support team that will assist the ADT with all manning and logistics issues during premobilization training.
  • Identify the agriculture team (make this a priority).
  • Schedule a predeployment site survey as soon as possible.
  • Request the MTC send a liaison at the beginning of premobilization training for the duration of the training.
  • Conduct inactive duty training (IDT) and Soldier readiness processing (add 20 percent additional Soldiers over the authorized strength).
  • Identify Soldiers with appointments who will miss training.
  • Schedule Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 68W (Health Care Specialist) refresher training prior to premobilization training.
  • Schedule and conduct one-week agriculture-specific training (on orders).
  • Conduct one-week leader development and education for sustained peace training for ADT key leaders and the agriculture team.
  • Conduct all First Army premobilization briefings required in the First Army commander's training tool kit during IDT.
  • Complete mandatory online individual training during IDTs.
  • Put the entire unit on 30-day active duty operational support orders to complete premobilization training. (Ensure Soldiers bring all updated certificates to include MOS, combat lifesaver, weapons qualification, physical training test, and drivers training).
  • Identify Soldiers with profiles that will hinder their training (heat, knees, medications, etc.).
  • Conduct a diagnostic annual physical fitness test.
  • Plan several days at the end of premobilization training for make-up training.
  • Request mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle training for mechanics and drivers.
  • Train to 100 percent on combat lifesaver techniques.
  • Train at least 15 percent of Soldiers over the deployment manning document during premobilization training.
  • Ensure the unit has one qualified observer/controller or observer-trainer Soldier with an assistant (if possible).
  • Identify secondary crews to qualify on crew-served weapons.
  • Ensure sign-in rosters follow the proper format for the combat skills training battalion, and complete with all persons who attended training.
  • Establish tactical operations center reporting formats and battle rhythm.
  • Conduct a daily commander's update brief to discuss training.
  • Utilize the ADT support team to assist with equipment and layout at premobilization training and the MTC.
  • When forecasting ammunition, factor for all weapons systems according to qualification tables (day and night) to include:
    • Nuclear, biological, and chemical.
    • Additional 20 percent for re-fires.
    • Requirement for an ammunition noncommissioned officer on the ADT support team.
  • Conduct interpreter training.

Premobilization Training (Security Forces)

  • Build the team and establish a security forces (SECFOR) standing operation procedure early:
    • Focus on:
      • Hot landing zone setup.
      • Self recovery.
      • Load plans.
      • Actions on halts.
    • Start training toward the scout gunnery tables (i.e., make fire command cards and go over them during down time).
    • Request vehicle-mounted live fire at premobilization training location for all crew-served weapons.
    • Consider premobilization training as a rehearsal for the MTC if you have the right resources.
  • Identify two designated marksmen per squad:
    • Request a squad-designated marksman class early (possible to do at the MTC).
    • Do physical training every day during premobilization training and when possible at the MTC. (Break time during classes is a good time for push-up and sit-up improvement.)

Post-Mobilization Training

  • Ensure all premobilization documentation has been scanned and saved and multiple copies are maintained.
  • Carry all training rosters from the premobilization training in one separate file for quick reference (soft and hard copy).
  • Send Soldiers who mobilize later than the ADT or deploy in the advance echelon (ADVON) of the ADT to Fort Benning, GA, for training.
  • Obtain training methods of instruction for all ranges.
  • Ensure detailed risk assessments are brought to all training.
  • Conduct regular situation reports with in-theater advance Soldiers.
  • Arrive on time to all training events.

General Agribusiness Development Team Mission Readiness Exercise Training and Evaluation Sequence

  • Prepare for combat.
  • Conduct mounted combat patrol.
  • React to contact mounted.
  • React to contact dismounted.
  • Conduct key leader engagements.
  • Conduct agricultural assessments.
  • Establish combat security outpost.
  • Employ close air support.
  • Evacuate a casualty by air.

Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration

Upon arrival to theater, you will go through the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) process for approximately five to seven days. It is imperative that ADVON Soldiers have a plan and are prepared to receive the main body. It is also a good idea to have the ADVON team obtain a signed memorandum for record (MFR) from the ADT commander requesting support during the RSOI process. This MFR should be forwarded through the brigade administrative logistics operations center and includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Coordination with securing RSOI tents for all unit personnel.
  • Transportation of main body personnel and equipment from the personnel terminal to the RSOI tents.
  • Transportation of cargo from the flight line to the RSOI holding yard.
  • Coordination for theater-issued special equipment.
  • Permanent lodging for ADT personnel who will remain at Bagram Airfield (BAF).
  • Coordination for Class V (ammunition) draw.
  • Coordination for rotary wing and ground transportation of main body and all unit equipment from the RSOI location to the forward operating base (FOB).
  • Any other item or support that is not organic to the unit.

Following is an example of a general RSOI execution matrix prepared by the ADVON:

Day 0

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Main body arrival

Mandatory theater training

Mandatory theater training

Counter improvised explosive device (IED) training (agriculture team/HQ) 0800-1200

Prep ISU-90 containers for movement to FOB

Main body lift 1 to FOB AMR #12-34

ID card scan

Issue interceptor outer tactical vest

 

MRAP drivers training*

(SECFOR drivers/TCs)

MRAP drivers training*

(SECFOR drivers/TCs)

MRAP drivers training*

(SECFOR drivers/TCs)

Occupy RSOI tents

Confirm AMR for main body movement to FOB

Issue Class V

Counter IED training (SECFOR)1300-1600

 

Push
ISU-90s to FOB

ADVON BAF orientation to main body

Confirm LMR for ISU-90 transport to FOB

       

Move ISU-90s to Lot 4

         

Key leader huddle

Key leader huddle

Key leader huddle

Key leader huddle

Key leader huddle

Key leader huddle

CDR's time

CDR's time

CDR's time

CDR's time

CDR's time

CDR's time

Activity

Rank/name

Unit

Bldg.

Telephone

Remarks

Billeting

SSG XXXX

BAF transient billeting

41

DSN 431-4626

NCOIC

IED training

Mr. YYYY

JTF Paladin

IED
training lane

DSN 481-6987

DOD civilian

* Mandatory MRAP drivers training will be conducted over a 40-hour period (5 days). It will require mainly SECFOR personnel as drivers and vehicle commanders (TCs) but also includes a 40-hour maintenance class for the ADT mechanics. This training, if not conducted prior to arriving in theater, will require the ADT to identify and split up Soldiers from the main body. Doing this will impact the ADT's flow to the FOB and require additional air mission requests (AMRs) to move them. In some cases, this training can be coordinated to be conducted at the FOB of assignment on the unit's vehicles depending on the availability of civilian trainers.

Table 9. RSOI execution matrix

Security Force Lessons Learned and Recommendations

  • Cross-training personnel:
    • Throughout the deployment, various SECFOR Soldiers were not available to go on missions due to guard duty, leave, illness, or injury. All SECFOR Soldiers, regardless of rank, need to know the duties and responsibilities of a TC, driver, gunner, and dismount security to fill in these positions when emergencies arise.
    • All SECFOR Soldiers need to qualify on all crew-served weapons that are assigned to the unit during mobilization to allow the SECFOR leadership more flexibility during mission planning. In addition, all SECFOR Soldiers must become subject matter experts on all equipment to include vehicles, weapons, and communication equipment.
  • Communications equipment redundancy:
    • The terrain in Afghanistan is extremely rugged, and line-of-sight communication may not work even though you may be well within the range of the equipment. It is vital that convoys have redundant communication equipment to include frequency modulation (FM) radios, tactical satellite communications system (TACSAT), Blue Force Tracker (BFT), and satellite phones to ensure they can communicate in any location.
    • In addition, ensure you have redundancy within each form of communications equipment (i.e., two TACSAT radios and two BFTs in different vehicles) in case one vehicle is disabled. Never leave the FOB until all communication equipment has been checked, and ensure all personnel are trained on the use and troubleshooting of each piece of communication equipment.
  • Route reconnaissance:
    • Afghanistan has extremely rough terrain, and roads vary from paved highways to washed out stream beds. It is vital that a detailed route reconnaissance is conducted to include the use of maps, FalconView, Google Earth, satellite imagery, and, most importantly, firsthand knowledge from other units that have been over the route. Many times it can take hours to go a few kilometers, and other times routes are simply impassable. The planning becomes even more vital when MRAPs are to be used. MRAPs vastly improve the survivability for Soldiers, but due to their size and propensity to roll over, they cannot travel over many routes or through many villages due to low wires or narrow roads and turns.
    • Ensure an extensive route reconnaissance (to include primary and alternate routes) is conducted before every mission. When possible, always use a different route going out than the one used going in, and vary the routes you use. Ensure you share information with other units in the area of operations (AO).
  • Maintenance:
    • Dust, extreme temperatures, and rough terrain in Afghanistan can take a toll on unit equipment if it is not properly maintained. Develop and implement a command maintenance program, and set aside one day during the week dedicated for maintenance operations supervised by unit leadership.
    • Conduct preventative maintenance checks and services on vehicles, weapons, and maintenance before and immediately after each mission.
    • Always take a mechanic and spare parts on convoys for unforeseen maintenance problems.
  • Afghan National Police (ANP):
    • Always use an ANP team on your missions. The team puts an "Afghan face" on the mission and is able to help with traffic control, crowd control, and numerous other issues.
    • Before the mission, find out who from the ANP team is in charge. Brief the route to him and give "clear" instructions on what to do. Utilize the ANP as the lead truck in your convoy to clear traffic. It is better to have an Afghan honking his horn and waving people off than a U.S. Soldier.
    • Once you reach an objective, have the ANP assist you with pulling security; they can tell when someone does not look right better than you can. If needed, have the ANP search personnel who need to come into a building you have secured. By using the ANP, you reduce the risk to your Soldiers by having a "local" set of eyes and ears.
    • Using ANP teams on missions continues their training and improves their ability to work with coalition forces.
  • Route clearance packages (RCPs):
    • Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the number one danger to coalition forces. The use of RCPs significantly reduces the chances of the convoy striking an IED. In addition, two units are operating in the same AO and can act as quick reaction forces if one unit gets into trouble.
    • Request RCPs a couple of weeks in advance, then lock the mission in and do not change the date. Coordinate with the RCP command for departure times, route to be traveled, call signs, and frequencies. Finally, if anything for the mission changes, notify the RCP command immediately.
  • Special weapons teams (close combat):
    • Often the routes are extremely restrictive, and travel can only be conducted on foot. Coordinate for close combat support during these missions to provide overhead cover, scout the area ahead of you, and notify you if anything is out of the ordinary, especially if you use the same route out as you took going in.
    • Request close combat support at least two weeks in advance, then lock the mission date in and do not change it. Coordinate link-up points, time on station, route to be traveled, call signs, and frequencies. Since close combat teams have a limited amount of time they can stay on station, ensure mission planning accounts for travel time to get the support when it is needed most.

Agribusiness Development Team Unit Newsletter

Maintaining communications with Families can be tough given the ADT operating tempo, but it can be done and is absolutely necessary for sustaining Family support and morale. Producing a monthly or quarterly unit newsletter is an excellent way to keep Families informed about the great work their Soldiers are doing in Afghanistan. Section and Soldier spotlights personalize the mission for Families and will be treasured for years to come.


Media

"The news media is a fact of life in military operations, especially in stability and support operations. Soldiers must be prepared to operate under scrutiny of national and international media representatives during all phases of operations. An effective public affairs strategy can enhance the unit's ability to operate and could be a pivotal factor in the success or failure of the mission." (Excerpt from Training Circular [TC] 7-98-1, Stability and Support Operations Training Support Package)

Given the nature and high profile of the ADT mission, you will deal with multiple media sources such as embedded reporters from the United States, Afghanistan, and other foreign countries as well as hometown news agencies. Therefore, it is necessary for your team to develop "command themes and messages" that tell the ADT story, are easily conveyed to nonagriculture people, and are nested within the higher brigade and division themes. It is also imperative that each member of the unit down to the junior Soldier or Airman understands how to speak to the media. Below are a few interview guidelines from TC-7-98-1 that will assist you when speaking to the media:

  • Do:
    • Know your rights:
      • Soldiers do not have to talk to the media.
      • Soldiers can decline to answer any question.
      • Soldiers can end the interview at any time.
      • Soldiers may speak to the media without fear of repercussion or punishment.
    • Know to whom you are talking.
    • Ensure reporters are escorted by a public affairs officer or unit representative.
    • Know who will hear you. Understand that anything you say can be instantly broadcasted around the world.
    • Know your limits. Soldiers must not attempt to talk about anything above their level.
    • Be professional and courteous.
  • Do not:
    • Do not lie.
    • Do not violate operational security.
    • Do not let the media jeopardize or interfere with the safety of Soldiers.
    • Do not stage events for the media.
    • Do not lose control of emotions or be sarcastic.
    • Do not threaten to detain, apprehend, or physically interfere with a reporter or confiscate film.

 


Example of Soldier and Media Talking Points

The ADT interacts with local media and local officials such as district sub-governors, village elders, and agriculture extension agents to promote the local farming economy.

What is the ADT?

The ADT is comprised of Soldiers from the Army National Guard and Airmen from the Air National Guard who are working with the Provincial Director of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (DAIL) to help provide agricultural education and services for the people of the province.

What specialties does the ADT bring to Afghanistan?

The ADT is made up of citizen-Soldiers. Each member of the ADT has a full-time civilian job and applies his civilian skills in his assigned military specialty. These skills include agriculture processing, horticulture specialist, soil scientist, hydrologist, construction engineer, pest management, large animal veterinary care, and other skills.

Important messages the ADT wants the people of the province to know:

  • How will the unit be able to measure the success of the project?
  • A solid education provides a firm foundation, which supports a prosperous economy.
  • A prosperous economy enables you to provide for your family.
  • The ADT wants to work with you and your agriculture leaders to:
    • Assist in providing agricultural education and services for everyone.
    • Assist in developing agriculture and animal-related businesses.
    • Improve the lives of the people of the province.


 

Last Reviewed: May 18, 2012

 
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