Throughout his career, DynCorp International mentor, Frank Partyka, has always been very safety-focused. When he became a range control mentor at the Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC) in 2010, responsible for training Afghan army personnel, his attention to safety became all the more valued.
Partyka retired from the U.S. military in 1996 after 22 years in the U.S. Army where he served as a master sergeant, and learned the importance of setting up and running facilities safely. As a civilian, he brings experience from working as a mentor with army personnel in Bosnia and Macedonia as well as serving as an observer controller for the U.S. task force as a trainer in Kuwait and a civilian brigade combat team safety specialist.
Working in support of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A) program, Partyka currently works with four Afghan officers, 20 non-commissioned officers and 19 soldiers.
Making Safety a Priority at KMTC
“Safety is our highest priority. We instituted a mission statement and mission-essential task list that emphasizes safety as well as a risk management process,” said Partyka.
Partyka also focused on airspace management over KMTC, coordinating with the Kabul International Airport (KAIA), and helping the Afghan range control personnel improve monitoring and record-keeping skills.
“It’s important to develop a culture of safety, where information is passed on. This way, everyone is aware of responsibilities, regardless of who is assigned what position,” said Partyka.
During his time at KMTC, he also instituted a range certification process that includes granting a certification card to those who are properly trained. So far, more than 10,000 personnel have been certified for KMTC ranges, including both Afghan and coalition forces.
Working with Afghan Partners
Working with Afghan partners, Partyka created a KMTC Range Control Regulation document, now being considered as the model for other ranges throughout the nation.
“Everything I do, I do in conjunction my Afghan colleagues,” Partyka commented. “It’s important for me to share my experience and incorporate that with factors they support, based on their rules and regulations.”
Partyka also emphasized the importance of personal and professional development, especially for the range control team, ultimately resulting in better performance in completing their mission.
“We embrace opportunities to send personnel to professional development courses and continue their studies in Dari. In the end, it makes for not just better soldiers, but better people to serve Afghanistan,” said Partyka.