Lebanese Soldier trains with SAW
Warrant Officer Mahmoud Sweid from Lebanon gets hands-on training with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during the Land Forces Symposium at Fort Benning, Ga., Aug. 3.

COLUMBUS, Ga. (Aug. 6, 2010) -- Senior noncommissioned officers played a big role during the four-day Land Forces Symposium held in Columbus, Ga., Aug. 1-4.

Command Sgt. Maj. John D. Fourhman, Third Army command sergeant major, led the NCO portion of events in which senior enlisted personnel from Afghanistan, Jordan, Kazakhstan and Lebanon focused on regional security challenges and interoperability within their respective forces.

The symposium is an annual event that provides a forum for senior land forces commanders in Third Army's area of responsibility to discuss common military challenges, exchange views and foster security cooperation. This year's theme was "Multilateral approaches to regional challenges."

Though this was the fifth-annual Land Forces Symposium, it was the first in which senior NCOs were invited and took on a major role.

During the four-day meeitng, senior NCOs took part in panel discussions, attended live-fire exercises and received hands-on training with U.S. weapons systems and military vehicles.

Each of the panels and exercises during these sessions were coordinated, led and executed by noncommissioned officers. The intent was to show the visiting delegates how NCOs can be essential elements to a military force.

"It was extremely important to show the value of the NCO corps," said Fourhman. "It represents the value our NCOs bring to the battlefield and development of junior troops."

The senior NCOs focused on the responsibilities of enlisted leadership ranging from health and welfare of Soldiers, training and team collective tasks. They also discussed the NCO structure in each of the countries, contemporary issues in Third Army's area of responsibility and specific areas that can be influenced quickly such as development of the corps and growing young Soldiers into tomorrow's leaders.

The Land Forces Symposium also provided the opportunity for the partner country's senior NCOs to establish and enhance personal and professional relationships.

Sgt. Maj. Safi Roshan, of the Afghan National Army, said the time invested and opportunities experienced during the symposium were invaluable.

"We made great strides and I'll take the lessons learned this week back to my country," he said. "Coming together in this manner will make us stronger as a [allied] nation."

Multiple meetings and presentations were held at Fort Benning, Ga., the home of maneuver warfare. Panel meetings there addressed senior leadership courses such as the warrior leaders' course and sergeants major academy.

Senior military leaders from 13 countries from Central and South Asia and the Middle East met at this year's event.

The next LFS is scheduled for 2012. However, senior NCOs will meet during the interim year to further discuss the development of enlisted servicemembers and regional security challenges.

(Sgt. M. Benjamin Gable serves with the 27th Public Affairs Detachment)

Page last updated Mon August 9th, 2010 at 12:06