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U.S. Army Africa sponsors deployment training for Malawi Defence Force
As a Theater Security Cooperation Plans Officers for USARAF, Copas and Beecher are instrumental in setting up and running ADAPT training for various African partner nations.
Tennessee Army National Guard officers, Maj. Brooke Grubb and Maj. Paige Yates acted as primary instructors for the Ground Phase II pre-deployment training and basic convoy operations, held at the Malawi Defence College.
"The pre-deployment training provided by the ADAPT team is very valuable for our troops," said Brig. Gen. Rodrick Chimowa, commandant of the Malawi Armed Forces College. "We look forward to continuing our relationship with U.S. Army Africa so that we can improve our skills and continue to support peace keeping operations in Africa," he said.
According to Copas, ADAPT-Ground Phase II is a train-the-trainer program that has recently undergone curriculum and presentation modifications.
"Students who successfully complete the two week course will return to their home units with skills and knowledge to prepare for deployment as well as convoy operations in peacetime environments," Copas said. "We have consolidated previous phases of ADAPT into one two-week phase. It is a tremendous amount of information. The phases of instruction take place during an 18-month window that had formerly taken place over a four-year time span."
Copas explained how the course is used by the MDF.
"MDF troops are accustomed to conducting convoy and deployment operations. Our Malawian partners are great students and good at adapting our training to their operations," Copas said. "They currently participate in United Nations peace keeping missions and will deploy again soon. As a result, they'll be able to use this training to enhance the convoy and deployment phases of those missions."
"The focus of Phase II ADAPT is convoy operations and unit movement planning," Copas said. "Once students complete Phase II, they are prepared to function as a unit movement officer." Copas said students worked through a variety of practical exercises such as determining load plans, vehicle center of balance, preparing for airlift and convoy communications.
He praised MDF students for their professionalism and academic excellence.
"This is my fourth trip to Malawi to provide ADAPT training to MDF personnel. They are excellent students who come to class prepared and with a desire to learn as much as they possibly can," Copas, a Lexington, Ky. native said.
"All of the students performed at a high level. We push a lot of information during the course. It's really like a fire hose of information and they are very good at capturing and assimilating it. It's a pleasure running these courses. The MDF students are among the best I have ever been associated with," Copas said.
Copas said the follow-on Phase III course will feature the top six graduates of Phase II as instructors.
"We will assist and advise during the phase III training. However, the end state is that the MDF can stand up its own deployment training course at the end of Phase III. Malawi will be the first country to complete this training under the new concept this year," Copas said.
According to USARAF's Director of G-4 Logisitcs, Col. Mike Balser, ADAPT training in Malawi helps build capacity for the MDF. "ADAPT is one of the few engagements within which we teach the material (a modified Unit Movement Officer Course) along with giving host nation instructors a train-the-trainer block," Balser said.
"Part I is comprised of technical classes, practical exercises plus instructional method. Later, we launch a Part II ADAPT - returning to the country - to provide guidance as the host nation instructors teach Host Nation students. In this way we empower our Partners with capacity they can apply as needed," Balser said.