By Cannoneer staffSeptember 5, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (Sept. 5, 2013) -- German army basic training lasts three months, and trainees get weekends off to go visit their families.
In addition to drill sergeants, the South Korean army uses noncommissioned officers as training assistants to help privates learn new military tasks.
These were some of the differences compared to U.S. Army Basic Combat Training noted by international officers during a tour of the 434th Field Artillery Brigade Aug. 28 at Fort Sill.
Several allied students in the FA Captains Career Course No. 6-13 toured the training brigade as part of their course curriculum to learn about the U.S. military. They have been at Fort Sill for two weeks.
"I enjoyed the tour," said South Korean army Capt. Ma Jungsoo. "In the U.S. Army, every private has a goal and has great pride in their service." He noted military duty is mandatory for young men in South Korea.
The tour included a presentation of the BCT mission, a walk through the barracks commonly called "starships," visits to obstacle courses, small arms ranges and other training sites, and a windshield tour of new construction on the training side of post.
1st Lt. Gregory Funk, C Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th FA commander, served as the escort officer. In his briefing, Funk said that his battery's last class of graduating Soldiers was made up of 120 women and 98 men. Of those only 22 were going active duty.
"They always seem to be interested in the gender integrated training," Funk said. "A lot of their services don't seem to train quite the way we do as far as gender integration training (GIT)."
The international students had many questions about GIT, reducing injuries during BCT, the National Guard and Reserve, the other Army Basic Combat Training centers, and military questions in general.
"What is your monthly pay," asked one officer.
Funk gave him the figure and explained that it was based not only on his O-2 rank, but his total time in service including years as an enlisted Marine.
It's only been a couple years since Germany went to an all-volunteer military, said German army Capt. Mathias Krueger. He said that the volunteer system was going OK, and its Army's BCT attrition rate was similar to the U.S. Army rate.
At the Engagement Skill Trainer 2000, the captains saw privates firing electronic M-16 rifles at computerized targets. And, at the Automated Field Fire range, they witnessed privates firing M-16s at multiple pop-up targets, with a trainer receiving the target scoring readout on a computerized screen.
Ma said that his country's small arms training was not as technically advanced compared to the computerization used by the U.S. Army.
As far as women serving in the Korean army, there are no women privates, but only sergeants and officers, who hold staff jobs, he said.
Krueger said that German privates do not receive hand grenade training during basic training. The small arms training they do is on the Heckler and Koch G36 assault rifle (5.56mm); H&K P8 pistol (9mm) and MG3 machine gun.
Brenda Moore, International Student Division Field Studies Program manager, said the 434th FA Brigade tour broadens the international students' perspective not only of military training, but the benefits Soldiers and their families receive.
"The international officers always say that they enjoy seeing first-hand how the U.S. military trains," Moore said. "It's a good tour."