Team Robins Airman deploys to Afghan training center

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
For a little more than six months in 2011, 1st Lt. Billy Raine experienced first-hand what it was like to work among police recruits in Afghanistan.

Raine, assigned to the 461st Computer Systems Squadron at Robins, was commander of Coalition Forces at the Afghan National Police Training Center in Tarin Kowt. The program is part of NATO's Training Mission-Afghanistan in southern Uruzgan province.

Prior to his deployment, he attended Army combat advisor training at Fort Polk, La., where he recieved language and weapons instruction. Raine arrived in Afghanistan in May.

"My duties involved taking care of Army, Marines and Australian federal police, as well as mentoring the Afghan commandant of the police academy," said Raine. "We trained basic recruits for the police force and their NCO corps."

Recruits, ranging in age from 18 to 40, are picked locally, and undergo an eight-week structured training program to give them basic knowledge of community policing, criminal procedures and Afghan law.

"They learned how to interact with locals regarding disputes, how to handle evidence, driving, improvised explosive device awareness, and handling unexploded ordnance and rifle fire," he said.

Recruits lived within the center - which Raine described as fairly small, but it included living quarters, a mosque, kitchen, classrooms, guard towers and a parade field. The men would train in the morning and afternoon following prayers. There were about 250 recruits per training session.

Literacy training in Pashto was also emphasized, particularly in the rural region where Raine was deployed.

The training culminated with practical exercises involving traffic stop scenarios, home investigations, setting up perimeters, and reacting to explosives and ambushes.

"Recruits and instructors really enjoyed the training. Many times they would be hired as a police officer, but had no formal training," he added. "When they go through this, they learn what is required of them ... what is right and wrong. We would also receive intelligence reports from people in town, and they would comment on the recruits' professionalism."

During his time in-country, the training center experienced numerous rocket attacks. Raine was one of four men who received an Army Combat Action Badge as the result of one attack.

Before going overseas, Raine became engaged to Capt. Christina Loft, air battle manager with the 16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron at Robins. However, he learned halfway through his deployment he would be transferred from Robins.

The wheels turned quickly, and he and Loft were able to have a phone ceremony on Sept. 6 to make things official. The couple plan to have a formal wedding ceremony this fall with family.

Raine admitted that although his deployment experience was completely different from his duties at Robins, he enjoyed the opportunity to further the NATO mission.

"Having an operational focus, I could see results," he said. "With all the training we're trying to do for them, I think they're getting there. It'll just take time."