By Spc. Jason Nolte, 21st TSC Public AffairsSeptember 30, 2009
KITGUM, Uganda - When the command sergeant major of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command arrived in Uganda and met with the sergeants major from the Ugandan Peoples Defense Force, their main focus was making Natural Fire 10 a success.
The joint and combined training exercise in Uganda offers an opportunity for east African partner nations and the U.S. military to work together to increase regional capabilities in order to respond to complex humanitarian emergencies. Military personnel from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and the United States will participate in this year's exercise.
The meeting between 21st TSC Command Sgt. Maj. David Wood, Ugandan Command Sgt. Maj. Ben Oyana, and other Ugandan sergeants majors better enabled them to work through any real-world issues that make an event like this a success as both a cooperative exchange of ideas, and a military-to-military training exercise involving complex humanitarian emergencies.
At this early stage in the exercise, setting up the life support area for the U.S. forces who will be participating in the exercise is a critical step to ensure Natural Fire 10 is successful. Wood walked the Ugandan sergeants major through the proposed arrangement of U.S. living areas and the logistical issues that might require Ugandan assistance. He also took time to ask if there was any assistance the Ugandan forces needed form their U.S. partners.
Wood praised the Ugandan military for its discipline and outlined some specifics training he was hoping could be arranged for the participating U.S. forces.
"When I was out at your range yesterday, I noticed the way your soldiers build shelters," Wood said. "I would like you to show our soldiers that - how to chop the bamboo and set up shelters."
The meeting ended with the presentation of the 21st TSC coin to Oyana, but perhaps the most important thing taken away from the meeting was what was said shortly after the initial introductions and handshakes.
"We have to come together to make this happen," Wood said.
"To work as a team," the Ugandan sergeants major replied in unison.