CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – On the outside it looks like a large Army maintenance tent, but on the inside it is a different world. Upon entering, there is a custom-made wooden walkway with wooden cacti flanking both sides, wooden Texas Longhorn with Army cavalry sword signs placed throughout the tent while Johnny Cash songs play in the background.
Bringing a little bit of Texas to Kuwait, military leaders of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the Kuwaiti Army and the United Arab Emirate Army took part in a Texas Barbeque hosted by the Ironhorse Brigade, May 7.
“The theme was Texas barbeque. Everything that we did here, we wanted to show them some of our rich tradition,” said El Paso, Texas native Command Sgt. Maj. Natividad Lopez, the command sergeant major of the 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
Lopez said that the Ironhorse Brigade wanted to bring a little of Texas culture to share it with our partners. He said that the theme of a Texas barbeque takes our allies to Fort Hood, where Ironhorse is stationed.
“It brings a feeling of a barnyard or saloon type of cookout, giving the Kuwaitis [and Emirates] an experience to remember,” Lopez said.
The barbeque was also an opportunity for the three nations to get to know one another better.
By hosting this type of event, the Ironhorse Brigade is demonstrating that U.S. Forces are furthering their relationship with the Kuwaitis and Emirates beyond tactical exchanges, according to Primeville, Ohio, native, Sgt. Steven Caudel, the repair and utilities soldier for to the Muleskinner Battalion.
Caudel added that this event builds cohesiveness between nations.
“It adds a more personal relationship as opposed to just a professional one,” Caudel said.
Caudel was one of three soldiers who helped build the decorations and said it took about three weeks to prepare the tent for the barbeque.
Another soldier who played a role in building the decorations said that the event went well, and that the Kuwaitis and Emirates seemed to have enjoyed the presentation.
“They looked like they enjoyed everything. They took photos by our props, [they] looked like they were enjoying the food and having a good time,” said Columbiana, Ohio, native, Sgt. Michael Ashby, a petroleum supply specialist assigned to the Muleskinner Battalion.
Ashby also said that he hopes that events like this show that the Ironhorse Brigade is broadening its relationships with their partners, and not just taking advantage of resources or training.
“I think when you do functions like this with the host nation, it plays a major role in building esprit-de-corps,” said Ashby.
Events like this are a great way for people to meet with and learn about our partners, said Ashby.
“I think everyone should attend events like this because it’s a fun time. [People] get to socialize, get to see another culture and interact with everyone,” Ashby said.
Lopez said that he is glad that something so simple has turned into something so positive, creating smiles on people’s faces. He added that he hopes, through actions like these, to broaden the future of the allied nations in the region.
“I hope we have just opened doors for a bigger and more expanded partnership. This is just a snapshot in time of what our partnership is all about,” Lopez concluded.