Sgt. 1st Class Phillip Eugene
80th Training Command (TASS) Public Affairs
Maj. Gen. Bill Gerety and Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Wills, commander and senior enlisted leader 80th Training Command (TASS), visited with the Citizen-Soldiers of Security Forces Advisory Assistance Team, Detachment 82 at Fort Bliss Texas, April 24, 2014.
The 16 person team, 15 of whom are from various units across the 80th TC, is scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan in May 2014 to advise and assist the Afghan Border Police at Regional Command West near the Iranian border.
Gerety said he was impressed with the unit's cohesiveness and he felt that the team was ideally suited for the mission.
"Who better to conduct assistance training...law enforcement training, or battlefield preparation, than the very instructors who do that training on a day to day basis for the Army Reserve," Gerety said.
Lt. Col. John Strahan, commander SFAAT DET 82, said mission success would be his team's ability to properly train and mentor the Afghan forces, which would improve security at Regional Command West and help improve the quality of life for the Afghan people.
Wills said the team's efforts will set the precedence for the way Afghan border security forces operate in the future. He said the Afghan forces will be able to function like agents on the U.S. Borders.
"These Soldiers will give them that same type of training," Wills said. "[for example] when they find evidence of drug smuggling they'll know how to do human intelligence work and trace the activity back to the source."
Gerety and Wills had lunch with the team, followed by an award ceremony before receiving a "Road to War" briefing from key members of the team.
Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo J. Hart, the team's communications and electronics officer, is the only team member who's not originally from an 80th TC unit. Hart transferred from the National Guard to the Army Reserve when Strahan asked him to deploy with the detachment after the unit lost its original communications officer.
"Without hesitating he volunteered...and we haven't missed a beat," said Maj. Howard April, the teams engineer officer. "We moved heaven and earth to get him on board."
Hart's son is a private assigned to the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, where SFAAT DET 82 conducted its official mobilization, so father and son were able spend time together before the deployment.
SFAAT DET 82 will replace SFAAT DET 200, an Army National Guard unit from Utah.