For Capt. Brad Copas, his assignment as a coordinator of African Deployment Partnership Training known as ADAPT for U.S. Army Africa has taken him to numerous nations on the African continent.
ADAPT is a program that helps build deployment capacity for African partners who conduct peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, or humanitarian relief operations in Africa. It is funded by the U.S. Department of State.
Copas, a Kentucky Army National Guardsman who was on assignment with USARAF’s G-4 (Logistics), was a pivotal force in bringing deployment training to hundreds of students on 25 separate occasions, in 10 African countries.
Recently, Copas and two Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kan., traveled to Benin to guide instruction on Phase III of Ground Training for 13 Benin Defense Force personnel. This was the last ADAPT mission for Copas. Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Wernholm and Staff Sgt. Eddy Arnold of the 299th Brigade Support Battalion took the reins as primary instructors for this phase of training.
“Phase III Ground ADAPT gives students the skills and knowledge to act as a trainer to teach and train other Benin troops to become unit movement officers or UMOs,” Wernholm said.
“Benin students were from a several branches of the Benin military, including navy personnel and a group of military police known as Gendarmerie National. The Benin students worked well together and were able to adapt the equipment they had to fit our instruction,” Copas said.
Copas explained some of the curriculum covered during the training.
“We covered vehicle load plans, center of balance, and developing preventative maintenance checks and service routines as well as preparing for other issues of convoy operations during a deployment,” Copas said.
Wernholm also complimented the Benin students for their professionalism and academic diligence.
“We are very impressed with the professionalism and knowledge displayed by these students. They are capable of having an immediate impact on the readiness of their units,” Wernholm said.
“The Benin military is working hard to continue to serve as a partner in peace keeping operations in Africa. This class was a motivated group and our interpreters were among the best.” Copas said. “Through our partnered efforts, we were able to modify the instruction to create a course that was tailored to their specific needs.”
Copas explains how ADAPT builds partnership capacity promotes professionalism.
“The beauty of ADAPT level III is that it gives our partner the capacity to continue to improve their deployment capabilities through training a corps of unit movement officers. In Benin, the training can continue through these UMOs who will help prepare their fellow troops for and deployments anywhere on the continent of Africa,” Copas said. “ADAPT has positive effects of improving professionalism of trainers which then improves efficiencies at a unit and troop level,” Copas said.
Benin students praised the instruction.
“We now have the knowledge and confidence to provide good training to our junior soldiers,” Benin Army Capt. Awo said. Copas said, though the course was well taught and attended, there were some challenges.
“In Benin, as in many African partner nations, we face the challenge of translating the course material,” Copas said. “In spite of the language challenges – we adapt, improvise and overcome and the students get the best training we can provide. I love this job,” Copas said.