By RICHARD BUMGARDNER, U.S. Army Security Assistance CommandNovember 21, 2019
VYSKOV, Czech Republic -- Soldier within two mobile-training teams from U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's Security Assistance Training Management Organization, out of Fort Bragg, N.C., traveled to the Czech Republic to teach an Army Basic Instructor Course to a core group of Czech noncommissioned officers.
"The Czech military has been working to standardize their NCO Corps similar to how the U.S. Army manages its NCO Corps," said Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Henderson, one of the SATMO instructors.
The Czech Republic, like many of the former eastern bloc countries following the breakup of the Soviet Union, continued Soviet-era military norms and structures that often considered enlisted personnel as 'gofers' and assigned menial tasks. Only the officers were given important duties and responsibilities.
"Right now, there is a huge shift to educating their NCOs and mirroring how we train and develop NCOs in the Army," Henderson said. "It started to shift a few years ago, and now we see that Czech NCOs have a voice, have responsibilities and have a seat at the table."
The Czech students spent two weeks learning about training psychology and methodology, had to successfully complete multiple practice training classes, an end-of-course practical exercise, and numerous culminating evaluations.
"They have great instructors, but there wasn't a training standard," Henderson said. "This course will help them spearhead their instructor program to come up with a legitimate NCO academic program, and to standardize and professionalize their NCO instructor program as well."
The course also taught instructors how to motivate soldiers and solve soldier-performance problems using positive reinforcement, on-the-spot corrections, and soldier counseling.
"Courses like this will lead to a stronger NCO Corps here in the Czech Republic, making them a more capable partner for the USA and NATO," said U.S. Army Maj. Joshua Passer, chief at the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Prague.
The goal is to provide a group of highly-trained NCO instructors, ready to open the Czech Instructor Sergeant Major Course, at the Military Academy in Vyskov, in late 2019.
Two SATMO instructors traveling to a foreign country to teach a class may seem like a relatively small security assistance effort, but "the impact of this small U.S. team that came here and taught the basic instructor course to Czech NCOs will end up spreading through their entire training establishment," Passer said.
Henderson and her co-instructor, Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Roderte, felt that even though they were a small team, the impact of teaching 15 instructors on proper instruction methodologies and techniques, will in turn reach and benefit hundreds, if not thousands, of Czech soldiers over the next generation of soldiers in the Czech military.
Helping to develop the NCO Corps of our NATO partner forces will also enhance the life-cycle development of their enlisted force, builds professional relationships between NATO partners, and improves interoperability during future operations with allies and partner forces.
"Mobile training teams are a vital part of our security cooperation goals here in the Czech Republic and these low-cost, 'small' events have a very positive effect for our security assistance goals," Passer said.
USASAC's Debra Valine contributed to this report.