Traveling from U.S. Army Central's headquarters at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Lt. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, the commanding general of U.S. Army Central, and Command Sgt. Maj. Eric C. Dostie, the command sergeant major for USARCENT, covered more than 16,000 miles in an effort to strengthen the partnership ties with the allied militaries of Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia during a two-week tour of the USARCENT area of responsibility April 18-30.
"We are here to work with our regional allies and build trust between our nations," said Garrett. "We need to include our military partners in everything we do. This will build a lasting friendship and promote good faith between our forces. We should also work toward a combined force protection team. I want to create an environment of security and trust by removing the walls between us and place our security forces alongside our partners."
U.S. Army Central's operations are focused on strengthening bilateral cooperation and continuing to build enduring relationships with partner militaries inside of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
USARCENT has several programs in place to promote camaraderie and bring them closer to the partners as they train together on a daily basis.
In Jordan, U.S. Soldiers are working with the Jordanian military to build their noncommissioned officer corps and develop leaders, said U.S. Army Col. Robert Boyette, the commander of the 30th Military Engagement Team at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center, Jordan.
The Soldiers of USARCENT have participated in several joint exercises with the Jordanian Armed Forces in 2016 with this goal specifically in mind.
During a joint mission-rehearsal exercise, Garrett told Jordanian Army 1st Sgt. Za'l Khalaf, a soldier with the Jordanian Armed Forces, "NCOs like you, the ones that are on the ground protecting your people, are the ones that Jordan needs. As you mentor your soldiers, they will be able to build upon your knowledge to better the future of your country."
Boyette said USARCENT will continue to train with partner militaries to build capability and foster regional stability. This means everyone is working together to create a stable and secure region by training together to deter conflict.
U.S. Navy Capt. Matthew Rosenbloom, the commander of the Navy Special Warfare Unit 3 at the Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, has worked with USARCENT and the U.S. State Department on another initiative in Qatar.
"We have started an all-female military engagement team cooperation program with the Qatari military," said Rosenbloom. He said the U.S. Ambassador to the country is female and this necessitates an all-female protection team, adding that the program will soon expand to other countries in the region.
"As our officers and NCOs work together with American forces, the path ahead will continue to become easier," said Khalib Al-Attiyah, the minister of state and foreign defense affairs for Qatar. "As we continue to train with each other, we will be able to increase our capabilities and our friendship will grow as we build trust between our forces."
While in Qatar, Garrett attended the U.S. Army Central Leader Development Forum and used it as an opportunity for USARCENT leaders to meet face-to-face to discuss current operations and build esprit de corps. During the summit, Garrett gave a talk on how USARCENT plans to continue relationships between the U.S. Army and partner militaries in the coming months.