Photo Information

Members of the 6th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps, Afghan National Army, listen to a speech by Lt. Col. John E. McDonough, the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, after their graduation ceremony at Patrol Base Shamshad, Nov. 26, 2009. Twenty-eight members of 6th Battalion graduated after two weeks of training headed by soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Dwight A. Henderson

Afghan National Army welcomes newest soldiers at Marine patrol base

2 Dec 2009 | Lance Cpl. Dwight A. Henderson

The Taliban approached Afghan National Army Sgt. Nazir Mohammad with an offer he couldn't refuse. But he did.

Mohammad has received many letters from the Taliban, telling him to leave the ANA, but he has continued to serve.

"If the Taliban kills my whole family, I will not take off my uniform. I will be with the ANA. I will help the Marines," he said.

The 30-year-old ANA soldier from Sherberghan, Afghanistan, continues to help strengthen the defense of his nation by training ANA recruits on Patrol Base Shamshad, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Twenty-eight of these recruits recently completed two weeks of training as part of the ANA's 6th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps, Nov. 26.

"There are many people in this world, but there are very few people who will do what you�re doing, and that is to stand up and fight for your country when your country needs you the most," said Lt. Col. John E. McDonough, the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.

They had participated in two weeks of training, headed by the soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

"They did pretty well," said Army Spc. Chris J. Moon, one of the soldiers who trained the ANA. �They seemed like their (noncommissioned officers) were pretty squared away, and they helped out with the classes a lot by taking over and sharing their knowledge."

One of these NCOs was Mohammad, who has been with the ANA for two and one half years, and who stood out among his peers throughout the two weeks of training.

"He was definitely one of the better ones out there," said Moon, 20, from Tucson, Ariz. "He knew a lot from his experiences and his training. He was one of the guys that would take over and help us out by taking over his squad, and just being a leader in whole."

Over the past two weeks the soldiers have taught the Afghans many different things including basic movement techniques, basic rifleman techniques and medical training.

"I learned a lot of things, a lot of tactics from this training," said Pvt. Amrodan, one of the members of the ANA. "It was very good training for us. It was fantastic training."

For most of the members of the ANA, including Amrodan and Mohammad, this is the first time they have received training from the U.S. military.

"I want the U.S. military to be here and come down and teach us a lot of tactics," said Amrodan, 20, from Badkhshen province. "We need these tactics during the fighting, during the infantry patrols. They are very good tactics for us."

With this training complete, the soldiers will leave PB Shamshad and the Marines will be moving in and begin working with the ANA.

'I like to work with the Marines because they are brave, and I like them because they are like the ANA, they are funny," said Amrodan. "We got a mission with the Marines before. They were very good guys."

As the Marines take over PB Shamshad, they look to the future and the coming months that will test themselves and the ANA.

"There are many difficult days ahead, and if it were not for people like you, this country would never be able to move forward," McDonough said. "It's an honor to be fighting next to you on a daily basis, and I very much look forward to seeing you fight, seeing you operate, and seeing you work together."

Headquarters Marine Corps