Applause erupted as Operational Mentor and Liaison Team-4 filed onto the drill floor to greet their waiting families at the Joint Army Air Building on Buckley Air Force Base, in Aurora Colo., Oct 21.
The Colorado National Guard held the ceremony to welcome the team home from almost a year in deployment to Afghanistan.
“It’s been a long year – three different continents,” said Colorado Army National Guard Maj. Michael Pribil, commander of OMLT-4. “It’s beautiful to be home in Colorado with family and friends.”
OMLT-4 was made up of 12 Colorado Guardsmen completely integrated with soldiers from the Republic of Slovenia, whose mission was to train and mentor an Afghan National Army battalion in order to provide security for the people of Afghanistan.
The team trained in Louisiana, Slovenia and Germany prior to deploying to western Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The OMLT program is an important part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force’s contribution toward the development of the Afghan National Security Forces.
In addition to providing training and mentoring of the Afghan National Army, OMLT-4 also served as a liaison between the ANA and ISAF forces, coordinating the planning of operations and ensuring that the ANA units received necessary enabling support including close air support, casualty and medical evacuation. They achieved this by creating a U.S.-Slovenian Command and Staff Mentor Team and ensuring each ANA Line Company Mentor Team consisted of two U.S. and two Slovenian mentors.
During their time in Afghanistan, OMLT-4 members completed more than 57 medical and casualty evacuation missions, and more than 42 ground convoy and patrol operations. The team worked with the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Defense Service, mentoring them in subjects such as operational planning and mission execution to increase the overall capabilities.
The Colorado National Guard’s partnership with the Republic of Slovenia is in its 19th year and was among the first global partnerships of its kind.
When a National Guard state partner nation agrees to participate in an OMLT, that nation often requests a team from the partnered National Guard state to deploy to Afghanistan as a team.
“Our relationship with Slovenia grows every time our Soldiers train and deploy together,” said Adjutant General of Colorado Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards. “I have no doubt we will continue to learn a great deal from one another.”
The National Guard’s State Partnership Program establishes and sustains enduring relationships with partner nations through military-to-military, military-to-civilian, and civilian-to-civilian exchanges. This program has existed since 1993.
During the decade since 9/11, Colorado National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen have deployed more than 6,000 times while maintaining state emergency response capabilities and supporting homeland defense missions. This is the fourth of five Colorado Army National Guard OMLT missions. OMLT-4 deployed Afghanistan Oct. 28, 2011.