British cadets train with U.S. counterparts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
August 5, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. -- Although America declared its independence from Great Britain more than 200 years ago, the English-speaking cousin countries have been uniting as comrades in arms since the early 20th century, and remain firmly allied today.
Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) cadets attending the 2013 Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) got to witness this camaraderie firsthand with 20 British Army cadets training alongside them.
Through a program between the U.S. Army and the U.K. army, cadets from various British universities received the opportunity to come to America and see how their country's ally trains its leaders.
Cadet Lottie Hollins, from Oxford, U.K., and Newcastle University, said she jumped at the chance to train here. Attached to Bravo Co., 12th Regiment at LDAC, she has observed that America's military takes great care to mold its leaders.
"I think LDAC, the way it's marked, it's not a tactical focus...it's very personally focused," said Hollins.
Although the training environment is stricter than what she is accustomed to, Hollins said there is one casual element they don't have across the pond: cadences.
"The first day when people started singing, I was like, 'What're we doing?'" she said. "I started laughing."
Some of the training details differ--such as the acronyms--but Hollins said the general principles of combat are the same for both countries. Training at LDAC has given her a preview of what she will have to do in the future as a second "leftenant," as it's pronounced in the U.K.
"I think the perfect leader has to be adaptable to the situation they're dropped into," said Hollins.
Cadet Thomas Barker, from Yorkshire, U.K., and Northumbria University, said he has softened his accent "to be understood," but that "everyone's been excellent" with the British cadets. Barker said his LDAC training with Bravo Co., 12th Regiment, has been more similar to his own experiences than he'd expected. His most important task is to learn how Americans work so he can fight cohesively with them in the future.
"If you're working with someone and have no idea how they do (something), you're going to cross wires and it's going to be a problem," he said.
The British cadets were not the only ones who had to get used to culture differences.
Cadet Denise Yanez, from McAllen, Texas, and Washington University in Saint Louis, Mo., has become close with Hollins and said some of the British slang has confused her. Even with the differences, Yanez said the Brits' presence has been great.
"I'm definitely glad that (Hollins) was here," said Yanez. "I feel that the dynamic of the platoon would not have been the same without her."
Just as the American cadets feel they have learned from the British cadets, Hollins said she has experienced a small-scale experience in foreign relations.
"I've definitely learned a lot just about the American way," she said. "On a personal basis, I've made some amazing friends here."