FORT POLK, La. - Soldiers from B Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, speak with a role player acting as an Iraqi Army official in a key leadership engagement exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center, June 16.

FORT POLK, La. - In between their combat outpost defense and fire support exercises, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, participated in key leadership engagement (KLE) training to strengthen the relationship they will soon build with their Iraqi partners during their deployment this fall.

Capt. Matthew Makaryk, B Co. commander, from Plainfield, Wis., met with role players assuming the positions of an Iraqi city's mayor, police director and senior Army official. He spoke to the key leaders with one goal in mind; to establish a strong bond that will lay the foundation for their overall partnership.

"A key leadership engagement is one of the first and most important things you do before a joint mission," said Makaryk. "It's important we get away from telling the Iraqis what we want to do and listening to more of the fixes they want to do with their own country. And by doing that, the KLE gives them the opportunity to tell us what they're thinking; their plan."

During their rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), Soldiers will apply the skills acquired in leadership engagement training to build positive relationships with Iraqi role players here.

"It's an opportunity for [U.S. Forces], whether it's a staff officer, platoon leader or commander, to get to know the leaders of any area that you're at; sit down and see what their concerns are," said Makaryk. "This shows we're comfortable dealing with our partners."

To ensure the troops got the most out of their command post exercise, JRTC has teacher/mentors like Capt. Jerone Van, who aided the Fort Hood Soldiers and gave them guidance on what they could improve upon during their next training event.

"They did a good job communicating with their counterparts and I believe this will only help them with their deployment in the future," said Van.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16