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Airmen help Afghan National Army Air Corps soldiers take aim

Tech. Sgt. Joshua Ray, 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Security Forces advisor, gives an Afghanistan National Army Air Corps soldier feedback during M-240B machine gun familiarization training in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Jan. 4, 2010. Sergeant Conley is deployed from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez) (Released)

Tech. Sgt. Joshua Ray gives an Afghanistan National Army Air Corps soldier feedback during M-240B machine gun familiarization training Jan. 4, 2010, at Kandahar, Afghanistan. Sergeant Ray is a 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Security Forces adviser and deployed from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

Tech. Sgt. Kevin Conley, 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Security Forces advisor, watches Afghanistan National Army Air Corps soldiers train on the M-240B machine gun in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Jan. 4, 2010. Sergeant Conley is one of 24 mentors assigned to the 738th AEAG. He is deployed from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Kevin Conley watches Afghanistan National Army Air Corps soldiers train on the M-240B machine gun Jan. 4, 2010, at Kandahar, Afghanistan. Sergeant Conley is one of 24 mentors assigned to the 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group. He is deployed from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

Capt. Shane A. Cordrey, 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group lead security forces advisor, shows an Afghanistan National Army Air Corps soldier how to correct an M-240B machine gun malfunction during weapons familiarization training in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Jan. 4, 2010. Captain Cordrey is deployed from Indiana State University where he is an ROTC instructor in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez/Released)

Capt. Shane Cordrey shows an Afghanistan National Army Air Corps soldier how to correct an M-240B machine gun malfunction during weapons familiarization training Jan. 4, 2010, at Kandahar, Afghanistan. Captain Cordrey is the 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group lead security forces adviser. He is deployed from Indiana State University where he is an ROTC instructor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

Afghanistan National Army Air Corps soldiers engage targets with 
M-240B machine guns during weapons familiarization training in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Jan. 4, 2010.  The Afghan soldiers are training with 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Airmen to gain the skills needed to fulfill security requirements independently.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez/Released)

Afghanistan National Army Air Corps soldiers engage targets with M-240B machine guns during weapons familiarization training Jan. 4, 2010, at Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Afghan soldiers are training with 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Airmen to gain the skills needed to fulfill security requirements independently. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Airmen of the 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group here are training 30 Afghanistan National Army Air Corps soldiers on the M-240B rifle in January here.

For some of the ANAAC soldiers it was their first time shooting the gas-powered machine gun while for others it was their second, but the Airmen mentors noticed improvement in their abilities.

"Very good. That is how you are supposed to shoot," said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Conley, a 738th AEAG security forces adviser as the ANAAC soldiers practiced firing their weapons throughout the 205th Corps Firing Range here Jan. 4.

"The guys did great today," said Capt. Shane Cordrey, the 738th AEAG lead security forces adviser. "When we first trained on these weapons some of these guys were not only missing the target but shooting out of the range completely. Today, as mentors we can tell that they have not only improved their shooting skill, but have also passed on their knowledge to their fellow ANAAC soldiers."

For the past two years security forces Airmen have mentored ANAAC soldiers in everything from quick response forces, clearing buildings, providing overwatch protection, foot patrols and weapons training.

"This training is vital to helping the Afghans take full control over their own security and work ourselves out of a job," said Sergeant Conley, who is deployed from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., and a native of Washington, Ind. "These guys are very eager students and training them is one of the most fulfilling things I've done in my career."

For ANAAC soldiers on this day, training consisted of M-240B weapons safety, learning to assemble and disassemble the weapons system, how to fire and load it properly and how to clean the weapon.

"It was awesome," said Sergeant Qobat, an ANAAC security forces NCO. "I feel this training will help me do my job and allow me to defend my country alongside my mentors. Without our mentors teaching us to do things like this, it would be very difficult to defend ourselves."

After 11.5 months of being a mentor in Afghanistan, Captain Cordrey, a native of Crestline, Ohio, has seen the many benefits of passing his security forces knowledge on to his Afghan counterparts. During his time he has watched the ANAAC security forces grow from 15 to about 150 strong.

"I have had the opportunity to watch these guys make huge strides toward taking over security for their own air force, a step that will enhance the overall security for their nation," said Captain Cordrey, who is deployed from Indiana State University where he is an ROTC instructor. "I am not only proud of the mentorship I have been able to provide, but also the friendships I've made while learning and sharing in their culture."

While procuring weapons and providing training is the current priority for 738th AEAG Airmen, getting aircraft will be the next step in making the ANAAC a fully functioning air corps.

"We are truly thankful for our mentors," said Shiraf Zal, the ANAAC security forces deputy commander. "They are providing a path for our country's future, we are learning how to be good soldiers, good leading and mostly we are learning how to take care of ourselves."

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