News: 'Dragon Brigade' conducts Afghan cultural awareness training
Story by Sgt. Scott Lamberson
FORT RILEY, Kan. — “I like it, I would recommend that anyone going on a deployment attend training like this, there’s certain things we don’t train enough on and this helps a lot. I think it’s good—I’ve enjoyed it and learned a lot,” said Staff Sgt. Casey Marlow, a forward observer of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
The 4th IBCT hosted Afghanistan Cultural Awareness training for soldiers of the ‘Dragon’ Brigade. The training was an intensive look at the cultures and customs of Afghanistan which will give them insight on the coming deployment.
“Basically, what we’re doing is educating junior leaders on partnership, advising and counterinsurgency in Afghanistan,” said Capt. Scott Powell, an instructor from the 162nd Infantry Brigade, out of Fort Polk, La.
The training was open for all squad leaders, platoon sergeants, platoon leaders, and senior non-commissioned officers as well as senior officers. The intent was to educate the Soldiers on military courtesies, operating procedures, military and civilian operations abroad, and customs and courtesies of the Afghan culture.
Another aspect of the training included Key Leader Engagements. Senior leaders sat down with role players from the Afghan National Army and advised them on ways they could improve issues in their command and the surrounding region. The engagements consisted of teams of leaders from the Dragon Brigade, soldiers from the Afghan National Army and Afghan translators.
“Knowing how to interact and work with the Afghans is as important as training on our rifle skills and our battle drills,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Vogel, the commander of 4IBCT’s Security Force Assistance Team.
Throughout the training, soldiers attended approximately 15 briefs, such as culture overview, Islamic overview, Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, a block of instruction on the Afghan National Security Force, counter insurgency, training foreign forces, rapport building, and numerous other briefs as well as Key Leader Engagements.
“I think that this training is important because it gives you cultural awareness as far as how Afghans are, how Afghanistan’s Army works, the commanders intent— so everyone has perspective, where we are going to and the environment we will be in,” said Marlow.
When asked what he wanted the group to take away from the training, Powell answered, “A better understanding of Afghan culture so that way when they go on their deployment they can better train and advise their counterparts.”
“This gives a better understanding on how to operate with another force from another country,” said Marlow.