CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (Jan. 28, 2016) -- Maj. Gen. William Hickman, U.S. Army Central's, USARCENT, deputy commanding general-operations, and USARCENT captains partnered with officers from the Kuwaiti 35th Armored Brigade for a leader professional development, or LPD, conference at the 35th Brigade headquarters, Jan. 25.

The leaders learned about the Battle of the Bridges, a battle at the beginning of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait 25 years ago, and the part Kuwaiti 35th Armored Brigade played in the battle as a way to show the history and pride the Kuwaiti service members have in their unit.

"Learning about the history of the [Kuwaiti 35th Armored Brigade] gave me an understanding of where they are coming from and I can understand the pride they have for their unit," said U.S. Army Capt. Jesse Hougnon, a battle captain with USARCENT. "Understanding someone's past will make it easier to work together in the future."

U.S. Soldiers were given the opportunity to see a 36 meter by 36 meter sand table that the Kuwaiti 35th Armored Brigade uses to plan training missions and exercises.

"The sand table they use is an important tool and great resource for the defense of Kuwait," said U.S. Army Capt. Reid Seiler, the executive officer to the deputy chief of staff for USARCENT. "It is large enough to walk through and see how the Kuwaiti military can use the terrain to help defend their country."

Developing and training leaders is one of many ways the U.S. Army has maintained its fighting force throughout the generations. By learning about partner militaries within the region, USARCENT hopes to foster lasting partnerships.

"We are able to improve our relationship and exchange experiences and knowledge through events like these," said Kuwaiti army Maj. Bader Alotaibi, a company commander with 7th Battalion, 35th Armored Brigade. "As we learn from our U.S. friends, we can become better in our operations and tactics. Being able to work together, helping our officers, we will be able to make our country safer and better."

A mission of Soldiers in USARCENT is to integrate coalition nations into its battle plan. Learning leadership techniques from each other is one way they accomplish this mission.

"As we educate both parties on our day-to-day operations, we will be able to improve how we operate with each other in the future," said Hougnon, a native of Whitehouse, Texas. "Incorporating the Kuwaitis in this LPD allows us to have a strategic partner in the Middle East as well as a strong ally for future endeavors."

The Soldiers said they enjoyed the opportunity to build comradery with service members from other militaries.

"Going to the other nation's military facilities is really interesting," said Seiler, an Anderson, South Carolina native. "Seeing that certain things are the same while others are different gives us a way to connect through these similarities."

By working closely with leaders and service members of coalition nations, USARCENT aims to reinforce the partnership by forming lasting bonds with their counterparts from other nations.

"As we go forward, if we keep working together in the field and ranges, we will be able to make my country a safer place and the world," said Alotaibi. "Our U.S. friends are very well trained and if we learn from them, we will also be better."