Australian captain gets American military, cultural knowledge
March 25, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Australian Army aviator Capt. Richard Bremner came to Fort Rucker to become more proficient at his job through the Aviation Captains Career Course. He heads back home, however, with a unique cultural experience that diversified his time in America, teaching him much more than military skills.
Bremner traveled to Washington, D.C., Jan. 11-17 with three other international students attending AVC3 here - Capts. Abd Rahman abd Rahmanizan and Mohamed Khalid Ismail, both Malaysian Army aviators, and Capt. David Bestavashvili, a Georgian Air Force pilot.
The four students, Joseph Fernandez, International Military Student Office Field Studies Program coordinator, and Capt. Melissa Pyun, D Company, 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment IMSO commander, joined about 30 international servicemembers training at five U.S. military posts to tour the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, Arlington National Cemetery, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and other historic landmarks.
The group also met with Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright to learn about local and national politics. IMSO hosts foreign students for multiple courses here, including AVC3.
In addition to the military training they receive, students participate in a variety of field trips to gain exposure about the American way of life, said Joseph Fernandez, IMSO Field Studies Program coordinator.
"The impressions the officers may have of American society before they come here and after they leave may change (due to these trips)," Fernandez said.
Bremner, an OH-58A/C Kiowa and Tiger helicopter reconnaissance pilot stationed in Sydney, Australia, said his experiences here and during the D.C. trip showed him many similarities and differences between the U.S. and his home country.
"I have an overall relatively good understanding of American culture because we share the same media," he said. "On arriving here, I was astounded at the approachability of American people. The Washington trip opened my eyes to (the U.S.) government's detail and gave me perspective on American history. The government is questioned here (by citizens) more than in Australia."
Bremner's trip was unique because he traveled somewhere even many Americans haven't, said Maj. Arlin Wilsher, his AVC3 small group instructor.
"It gives him an opportunity to see first-hand what the nation's capital looks like. That's something not every American gets. To see it in action and actually experience it in person always has a greater impact than just talking about it. It drives home more of what America's about," Wilsher said.
In addition to learning about U.S. culture and politics, Bremner said he's also garnered knowledge about American military tactics. He said understanding other country's military systems helps with joint Middle East efforts.
"I think the more we get to train with coalition forces, the better we and American forces will be. We have similarities but differences, like language and tactics. It's important to have an appreciation of what that (joint) force can do," he said.
He said not only did he reap new cultural experiences during his time here, but also hopes he brought new points of views to the American friends he's made during AVC3. Bremner noted building strong bonds between allied countries is critical when fighting together for a common cause.
"It gives them an appreciation of where we've come from," he said.
Bremner accomplished that mission, said Wilsher.
"We've learned how hard core Australian officers can be. He brings that personality (of), 'I'm going to give 120 percent to everything I do.' Whether it's on the (class) Frisbee team or in the classroom, he meets and exceeds all our expectations. He has dedicated himself to getting the most out of his experience and bringing Australia to our experience," the instructor said.
Wilsher said the American AVC3 students learned just as much from Bremner as he did from them, making the Australian's experiences here and throughout the country priceless.
"It's been a true pleasure to have him on the team," Wilsher said. "He has made me want to work with the Australian Army and Australian Army aviation because he's so professional. He's really become a great part of the team and brought just as much to the table as American students do. He brings his whole country into the learning cycle."