CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (March 22, 2016) -- The first Kazakh military delegation to visit the U.S. Army Central forward headquarters took the opportunity to learn more about the U.S. Army's noncommissioned officer corps during a three-day stop at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, March 8-10.

Command Sgt. Maj. Temirbek Khalykov, the command sergeant major for Kazakhstan's armed forces, and other officials from the Kazakh military police and air defense branches discussed how they can develop improved safety plans and the importance of expert NCOs in their military.

"We came here to learn the operations of the sergeant's corps as it pertains to military police and air defense," said Khalykov. "We are here also to learn about safety and its importance in both garrison and deployed environment."

Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Dawes, the senior enlisted Soldier in the 30th Military Engagement Team, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, said the importance of this visit was to build relations with a partner nation and increase interoperability between the two countries.

"Many countries in the region, especially Kazakhstan, have seen the value of having a strong NCO Corps," said Dawes, a Wake Forest, North Carolina native.

"They focused on how to build their NCO Corps during the last few years, and the basic schools and education level NCOs need in order to develop trust and respect from their officers."

Khalykov was the first enlisted soldier from his country to attend and graduate the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. He said he has tried to implement much of what he learned during his time there into his own military.

"The history and experience of the NCO Corps in the U.S. Army is huge," said Khalykov. "It's very difficult to overestimate it. I considered all this while developing [our Corps], but learned from mistakes and also achievements. The U.S. Army NCO Corps has proven itself very valuable."

"They are meeting all the right personnel and having their questions answered here and now," said Master Sgt. Anthony Wooten, a planning NCO with the 30th MET. "Seeing real-world operations and interacting with subject-matter experts has allowed the delegation to better understand the role of the NCO, rather than just reading about it."

Maj. Gen William B. Hickman, the USARCENT deputy commanding general - operations, met with Khalykov and thanked him for his visit. The two talked about ways to build up the Kazakhstan NCO Corps and the value of cooperation between the two militaries in the Steppe Eagle exercise, a multinational military peacekeeping exercise.

"The United States is a strategic partner of Kazakhstan in the region," said Khalykov. "We have a five-year development plan of military cooperation between our two countries. Kazakhstan's NCO Corps is in the process of developing, and one of the ways to develop is to learn the operations of the NCO Corps in the U.S. military."