By Ms. Danielle O'Donnell (TRADOC)November 1, 2019
FORT BLISS, Texas--The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence, International Military Student Office, held its fall Field Study Program in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, the week of October 21, 2019.
In five days, the International Military Studies interacted with local tour guides, businesses, and historical landmarks throughout central Texas. The locations provide one or more of the FSP facets on human rights, diversity and American life, U.S. government institutions, political process, the judicial system, the free market system, education, health and human services, media, international peace and security, and laws of war.
Jesse Herrera, the FSP coordinator, shared the importance of taking the International Military Students to San Antonio and Austin, Texas.
"Our ultimate goal is for the IMS and their families to have a favorable impression of the U.S. when they return to their country," he said. "San Antonio is centrally located, which gives us the ability to schedule visits to local businesses, historical landmarks, and the Texas State Capitol Building. Bringing the IMS and their families allows us to show them the history of Texas and how it contributes to the development of the U.S."
During their FSP, the students visited the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Senate Chambers, the Bob Bullock Texas State History museum, the San Antonio Shoe factory, and the Toyota factory.
Sgt. Maj. Wallace Doss, the IMSO director, took the time to explain the importance of each location to the students and tied the visit into current U.S. Army priorities and the FSP facets.
"The Army's top two priorities are people and readiness. They care about readiness just like we do," he said, speaking about the Toyota factory. "They have a wellness program to help their employees build muscle before going on the line, and the people feel valued, this ties into taking care of their people just like we do as Sergeants Major."
International Military Students arrive at the NCOLCoE with varying cultural beliefs, customs, and levels of experience in their field. Still, they all leave the IMSO and the NCOLCoE with a broader understanding of the way their American counterparts accomplish many of the same tasks.
Many of the students during the FSP expressed their gratitude to the IMSO team and appreciated learning about their host country's history and culture from the various FSP locations.
"It is critically important for all students from other countries, because they introduce us to the history and culture of the U.S., we get to see how they have established their country through the preserved historical places we were able to see," Sgt. Maj. Tornike Tvaradze from Georgia said.
The IMS who attend the NCOLCoE appreciate and utilize what they learn from their American counterparts and leave the institution to increase the efficiency in their home countries.
"The FSP is a great program which comes from the managers and the IMSO," Sgt. Maj. Mohamed Aljunaibi from the United Arab Emirates said. "We are hoping to create an FSP schedule for my Soldiers to learn more about our culture and then send them to the U.S. to learn about this beautiful country."
Sgt. Maj. Tvaradze was in awe over being able to visit the Alamo and the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch.
"At the Alamo, I was able to touch the history," he said. "The LBJ ranch I found very touching on how the president loved his family and used his time there to sign over a thousand documents into legislation to help better the U.S."
The IMSO, IMS and their families concluded the FSP with a social event at a local restaurant in San Antonio, where Doss gave his closing remarks.
"Thank you for your professionalism. You are the top one percent, and you are the best of the best sent by your country," he said to the IMS. "To the family members, thank you for your patience and understanding. To the staff, thank you for your support during this trip. And a special thanks to Jesse Herrera and Carlita Anderson for their months of planning this trip.
Doss concluded his remarks with one final thank you.
"I wanted to take another minute and thank the family members again, because behind every successful soldier is a family member who loves and supports them," he said.
The IMSO currently hosts 60 soldiers from 50 partner nations and creates the conditions and climate for their sustained professional growth and success while promoting a favorable impression of the American way of life; the FSP is an integral way to meet the mission.
If you are interested in more information about IMSO or would like to become a community sponsor visit the NCOLCoE website at: https://ncolcoe.armylive.dodlive.mil/imso/