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Soldiers from the 76th Infantry Brigade, Indiana National Guard, assigned to Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix were honored here May 28, 2005 during a graduation ceremony held for an Infantry military occupation skill qualification course.

It is only the second time in history an infantry MOSQ course has been held in a combat zone, the first being in World War II Task Force Phoenix spearheaded the qualification course during their deployment to train the Afghan National Army.

“As you know you have been part of history. You are the first MOSQ (Military Occupation Skill Qualification) Course to be conducted in a Combat Zone since WWII, and part of the first National Guard 11B (Infantry) class,” said Command Sgt. Maj. James Gordon, the Task Force Command Sergeant Major, during his address to the graduates.

Sgt. Joe McFarren of Headquarters Company, 76th Infantry Brigade, was named the course’s Honor Graduate and Spc. Matt Estheiner received the Commandant’s Award for academic success during the course.

‑The two-week course was conducted at Camp Phoenix, on the outskirts of Kabul, and at the Afghan National Army’s Kabul Military Training Center. The course was offered to Soldiers who already hold a primary MOS but now have 11B (Infantry) as a secondary MOS.

While 46 Soldiers began the course, only 35 graduated after two demanding weeks of honing their infantry skills.

“You have fired U.S. weapons systems available and also had the opportunity to fire weapons systems from the Afghan National Army,” Gordon said.

The Soldiers also performed squad live-fire and MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training, adding more realism to the training. Any time the Soldiers were out in the field, they were always aware that a real enemy threat was nearby as were live landmines.

The qualified 11B Instructors assured that training and doctrine standards were maintained throughout the course.

The main difference about this course was that the stress factor was real; the instructors conducted the course amongst real Afghan locals and within an actual combat zone.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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