Third Army/ARCENT hosts Lebanese Armed Forces for information exchange
April 1, 2013
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Command Sgt. Maj. Stephan Frennier, Third Army/ARCENT senior enlisted leader, and members of Third Army/ARCENT's International Military Affairs team hosted a noncommissioned officer information exchange with infantry and combat engineer NCOs from the Lebanese Armed Forces March 18-26.
"Your military and our military have shared values, and the same enemy -- terrorism," said Lt. Col. Stephan Y. El Chidiac, LAF training directorate assistant to the chief of NCOs enlisted training section. "In order to help each other we need to have a better understanding of the way we train, operate and think."
The nine-day event, designed to show the process of turning a civilian into a U.S. Army Soldier, capitalized on two seminars Third Army/ARCENT conducted with Lebanese military members in 2012.
"It makes a big impression, the way you train your Soldiers," said El Chidiac.
The event began at the Sumter, S.C. recruiting battalion where participants learned some of the requirements that must be met before a person can join the Army. From there they traveled to Fort Jackson to learn about the three phases of basic training and the standards drill sergeant candidates must meet before teaching and training new recruits.
The rest of the day was spent observing new recruits as they took part in an obstacle course and practiced basic rifle marksmanship on the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 system under the supervision and guidance of U.S. NCOs.
"I have seen here the degree to which you rely on NCOs," said El Chidiac, "The NCO role is very important."
The exchange was more than an opportunity to learn about the Army NCO corps and training Soldiers; U.S. participants learned about the process of becoming an NCO in the LAF.
"We learned a lot from them. It's very impressive; their NCO corps, the structure, how they're selected and how they're promoted," said Frennier, a Whitehouse, Texas native. "It's very interesting to learn how they do things."
Third Army/ARCENT hosts events like this one in support of its mission to shape the future by building relationships with partner nations.
"These kind of exchanges always help build relationships, improve communications and achieve the final goals," said El Chidiac.
The anticipated result of the exchange is that U.S. and LAF militaries will be more interoperable and capable of functioning together effectively on the battlefield.
"Anytime we are able to do information exchanges with some of our partner nations, in this case Lebanon, I think it's really a win-win situation," he said. "We are bringing in some friends, showing them how we do things, showing the professionalism, especially of the NCO corps, and then have them take that back to their nation and share it with their leadership."
The exchange continued at Fort Benning, Ga. and concluded with a trip to the Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. Third Army/ARCENT's relationship with the LAF will not end there; Frennier and others are scheduled to tour LAF facilities in Lebanon later this year.
"I look forward to when we can visit them and see some of their institutions," Frennier said.