JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –
Scores of junior-enlisted leaders enter the Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Brevard Noncommissioned Officer Academy to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for training and leading Soldiers.
What they may not expect is to share a classroom with soldiers from partnering nations from around the Pacific region.
What these visiting soldiers gained from the experience was invaluable training as well as strong bonds with their American counterparts.
Through the Regional Partnership Program, U.S. Army Alaska and its partnering nations are able to take full advantage of a number of training opportunities that will help further cultivate these growing relationships.
Five noncommissioned officers from the Nepal
Army - Sgt. Basnet Jayaram, Sgt. Giri Upendra Lal, Cpl. Khadka Jeewan Kumar, Sgt. Shrestha Dilip Kumar and Cpl. Shrestha Mangal - attended the Warrior Leader Course on JBER to not only further develop their leadership skills, but to use those skills to stand up their own NCO academy in Nepal.
"These are my diamonds," said Nepal Army Capt. Adhikari Bikash, Nepal Rangers Battalion. Bikash went through the training along with his NCOs, as he will oversee the training back in Nepal.
Once the Nepalese soldiers completed WLC, they moved on to the Foundation Instructor Facilitator Course. This week-long course teaches students basic facilitation and instruction techniques through interactive multimedia instruction and lessons given in U.S. Army schools.
The instruction also allowed for the Nepalese students to hone in on their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses prior to taking on a class. Bikash said that before FIFC, "We had no idea what our mannerisms were, we never thought about that."
"It's the soldiers that are going to benefit from you and your experience," said Army 1st Sgt. Jennifer Myers, NCOA deputy commandant. "As an instructor, you are now the subject-matter experts. People are going to come to you, (asking), 'Hey, what's the best way I should give a class?' or 'How can I conduct the training, how can I prepare
Introduction of this newly-acquired training to the Nepal Army will be gradual. An inaugural class will be given to the other instructors back in Nepal by the five NCOs who attended the course here. If the class proves successful, it will be added to the curriculum.
"For our rangers, our main job is to 'train the trainer,'" Bikash said. "It is a force multiplier for what we do over there."
These successful partnerships enable the U.S. to develop a greater appreciation for the unique cultures of each partnering nation, as well as an appreciation and understanding for the professionalism of their leadership.
"(We) saw a different aspect to training, different techniques other cultures use as a method," said Sgt. 1st Class Ernest Moore, Instructor Training Course instructor at the academy.
During training, the Nepalese students demonstrated to an Army staff sergeant - an American military policeman - how their enemy prisoner of war search-and-seizure techniques differed from his.
Alaska's unique terrain did not pose a threat to the Nepalese: while they are unaccustomed to arctic temperatures, they were familiar with the mountainous terrain, similar to that of their homeland.
Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Hyatt, also an ITC instructor, noted how the student-instructor interaction took on a different dynamic than what the Nepalese were used to.
"It's more relationship than power," Hyatt said.
"If I need some help, (the instructors here) are ready to help," Bikash said.
This unique training environment also comes with challenges, such as the language barrier.
"It takes you outside of your comfort zone," Hyatt said. "You're teaching not only to the American students but also the Nepalese. You're training skill level one tasks while also trying to meet the intent of the lesson."
Bikash said the positive rapport between the Nepalese soldiers and their American classmates helped diminish some of those challenges.
"We are so proud to be over here and we feel lucky that our country has a good relationship with the U.S.," he said.
The multiple levels of partnership within USARAK also include humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief efforts. But Bikash said there may come a time where the U.S. and Nepal join forces for other purposes.
"(The U.S.) has been doing a lot outside the country to help keep the peace," Bikash said. "One day, we may find our two countries working side-by-side to keep the peace, so what we are doing here is a good start to that."