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Working Together: Marine advisors with Task Force Southwest hit the ground running

By Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Updegraff, Resolute Support Headquarters | II Marine Expeditionary Force | June 12, 2017

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LASHKAR GAH -- U.S. Marine advisors with Task Force Southwest dive right in and advise, assist and train their 505th Zone National Police counterparts during the first month of their deployment at Bost Airfield in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

With the transfer of authority between Task Force Forge and Task Force Southwest, the advisors set their sights on meeting their Afghan counterparts, building rapport, understanding their challenges, seeking out Afghan solutions and advising them in the right direction.

“Rapport building is critical, because you have to show your Afghan counterpart that you care, that you understand what their situation is and that you’re here to help,” said Col. David Gibbs, the commanding officer of team police, Task Force Southwest. “The advisors have been doing outstanding. They’ve met with their counterparts on a daily basis, and have sought to understand their problems and develop good solutions.”

The advisors have grown to appreciate the challenges their counterparts face, and through experience and a different perspective, they have been able to suggest new methods and solutions to the various daily issues the Afghan National Police encounter.

“Anytime you get an outside perspective looking on inside processes, you get other ideas,” said Lt. Col. Scott Welch, the executive officer of team police, Task Force Southwest. “It makes [our counterparts] think and step outside of their bubble. So I think that’s happened on numerous occasions and probably across all sections.”

Task Force Southwest is comprised of approximately 300 Marines and Sailors from II Marine Expeditionary Force, whose mission is to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Army 215th Corps and the 505th Zone National Police to enhance security and stability throughout Helmand Province.
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