Afghan National Army soldier guides bulldozer

An Afghan National Army soldier, Sgt. Jiadon, guides a D7 bulldozer while building a hasty berm. The Afghan Engineer Coy of the 4th Kandak., 3rd Brigade., 203rd Corps conducted D7 Bulldozer training June 14 to provide soldiers with basic skills necessary to use D7 dozers for construction operations.

U.S. Army/Sgt. Thomas Gerkhe

PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan — The Afghan Engineer Coy of the 4th Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 203rd Corps, completed training on the D7 bulldozer, June 14. The Afghan National Army soldiers now have the basic skills necessary to efficiently operate D7 dozers in military construction operations.

Once the unit fielded the D7 dozers, the Afghan commander and first sergeant coordinated with their American security force advise-and-assist team for training. The 850th Mobile Training Team, Task Force Trojan Horse, arrived at Combat Outpost Bande Sardeh to train the soldiers of the engineer coy.

The D7 training included preventive maintenance checks and services, leveling, hasty berm construction, defilade construction, and side-hill cutting. The unit was also able to receive supplementary training using the backhoe loader, and supervisory training with an emphasis on job site safety and ground guiding.

Pvt. Richard Fry, conducted the preventive maintenance class. All the soldiers were given a demonstration of the performance steps, conducted practical exercises, and after rehearsals an opportunity to demonstrate their new skills.

The end of the first day concluded with the Afghan soldiers getting familiar with basic driving techniques for the D7 dozer.

“The soldiers each began to get the feel for driving the bulldozer around the motor pool,” Fry said at the conclusion of the day.

The leveling class was instructed by Staff Sgt. Michael Peterson, noncommissioned officer in charge of the training team, and Sgt. Thomas Gehrke. The two guided the soldiers as they learned how to level earth with the bulldozer. The soldiers trained utilizing the bulldozer and the backhoe loader to level the training site.

Once the basic skills of leveling were attained, the class moved into the construction of a hasty berm.

“The focus here was to build it quickly to provide force protection as soon as possible,” Peterson said.

“The class spent one day of training pushing the material uphill, and one day pushing the material downhill in order to truly achieve a level of efficiency,” Gehrke said.

After mastering the techniques used in berm construction, the class moved to the construction of a tank defilade using the slot dozing technique and side-hill cutting.

“All of the (Afghan) soldiers showed a marked increase in their skills operating a bulldozer. They now have the skills necessary to use the bulldozer in all of the techniques commonly used in earth-moving operations,” Peterson said. “It is great to see the improvements and the can-do mentality from these soldiers and engineer units.”

The engineer coy is planning on using their new skills to expand the outpost, install field artillery firing positions, and construct a small arms firing range.

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