By Staff Sgt. Kathleen V. PolancoFebruary 23, 2018
Grafenwoehr, Germany (Feb. 22, 2018) -- German and American Soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder as they watched the signing of a partnership renewal between the Unteroffizierschule des Heeres - the German Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA), - and the U.S. Army 7th Army NCOA, Feb. 21, 2018.
The 26-year partnership was renewed because the German Army NCOA consolidated its different battalions into just two and therefore, wanted the prestigious document to reflect such changes. More importantly, the signing of the partnership emphasized the strength of the bond between the German and American armies.
"It's very special to have an international cooperation community because one thing is in common; soldiering," said Lt. Col. Norbert Kopf, the commander of Lehrgruppe B, the battalion that works with international partnerships. "No matter which nation the Soldier is from, this is our business, this is our task and the better we learn from each other, the better we know from each other, the better we know about the philosophies behind what's best for us all."
Multinational partners are afforded the opportunity to train alongside each other and build cohesion not only through the various exercises that take place at the 7th Army Training Command, but also through one of the U.S. Army's structured development courses such as the Basic Leader's Course.
"It's always necessary to renew the partnership because we are stronger together," said Kopf. "There is no nation in the world that can stand alone because you need to rely on partners, which is why we take these first steps with our young leaders and go this way."
The partnership provides an opportunity for German leaders to learn more about the U.S. Army NCO corps while attending the 7th Army NCOA, as well as give some perspective to their American counterparts.
"We get a different perspective and see a different way of doing things," said Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Smith, the 7th Army NCOA commandant. "We learn from them as much as they learn from us."
The partnership is an investment in the future for both the German Army NCOA and the 7th Army NCOA.
"We're in an environment where it's quite possible that some day we might be fighting together and that's not the time you want to develop that relationship," said Smith. "So, training with each other, learning from each other and developing those relationships to learn how each other functions is just going to promote our success in the future."