University students, professors help prepare National Guard members
When three National Guard members knocked on the door, it opened a crack, then slammed in their faces. The women of the house weren’t properly covered, so a male relative went to find out what the three uniformed Americans wanted.
After a minute of chatter at the door, Jeremy Couch, Chris Yauger and Jennifer Pozzi filed in with their interpreter, hoping the family could help them find some escaped prisoners thought to be in the area. But the men in this Afghan family only wanted to talk about the lack of security in their village and a rash of livestock thefts. See more photos from the training program with this story online.
“We want to know if you’ve seen anything, if you’ve heard anything,” Couch told the Afghan men, ignoring a stack of cash and two military rifles nearby.
The conversation on Sunday was staged, and the Afghan home was actually a room in an empty building at Camp Mabry.
But the people in uniform were real, and they were hoping that Sunday’s role-playing exercise will help them when they deploy to Afghanistan sometime in the next year.
The family was played by a group of University of Texas students, and the interpreter was Christian Glakas, a contract writer for the associate dean of UT’S College of Liberal Arts.
Faculty from UT’S Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Afghan experts from Ohio State University’s Middle East Studies Center gave about 20 National Guard members an intensive three-day immersion in Afghan history, language and customs over the weekend.
It was the first time UT faculty had offered the training, which was paid for through a grant from the National Security Education Program. Guard members normally have to fly to Cali-