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Afghan Military Academy Graduates First Basic Training Class

By Sgt. Joe McFarren, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 21, 2005 – The National Military Academy of Afghanistan graduated its first class of basic training soldiers March 17.

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Cadets from the first class of officer candidate basic training swears in to the National Military Academy of Afghanistan March 17 near Kabul, Afghanistan. The cadets are the first class of officer candidates to enter the NMAA and will begin their academic year March 22. Photo by Sgt. Joe McFarren, USA
  

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The 112 cadets then swore into the academy in front of three ANA generals as well as Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix commander Army Brig. Gen. Richard Moorhead and Army Col. James Wilhite of the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan, as well as representatives from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the Turkish force commander.

In his address to the cadets, Wilhite provided inspiration and encouragement to the newest members of the ANA.

"I will not be here the entire time you are going through your schooling," Wilhite said. "But in four years, when you graduate, I will come back to usher you into the next step of your military careers."

A team of six soldiers from CJTF Phoenix combined to aid the basic training of the cadets as mentors for the instructors. Capt. Eric Creviston headed up the American team made up of 1st Sgts. Rodney Spade, Steven Ridings, Todd Brown, Anthony Hall and Paul Young.

"Everything that happened went off better than planned," Creviston said. "We were there to mentor the instructors, and everyone stepped up and performed to the level they needed to in order to make the mission a success."

The basic training course included physical fitness training, basic infantry tactics, weapons familiarization and qualification, military customs and courtesies, first aid, road marches and proper drill and ceremony. "(The basic training) was very comparable to a basic training in the United States," Creviston said. "(Cadets) didn't have to be pushed or pressured into joining. They came on with the desire to be a soldier and a leader, and performed that way."

The newly formed academy is the first military academy for the Afghan National Army and is being structured around the same format used at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. With the completion of the officer candidate basic training, the cadets move on to four years of higher education at the academy. Upon completion of a four-year college degree, each cadet will then be a commissioned officer in the ANA.

"The training was very good , and really pushed us physically," Cadet Mohamed Azim said through an interpreter. "It is a proud day for all of us to go into the academy."

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageCadets from the National Military Academy of Afghanistans first basic training class of officer candidates pass in review March 17. The cadets will begin their academic year March 22. Photo by Sgt. Joe McFarren, USA  
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