News: Fort Bragg welcomes International Fellows, promotes professional education of allies
Story by Sgt. Kissta DiGregorio
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Senior leaders of six foreign militaries – Albania, Botswana, Chile, Mexico, Oman and Vietnam – currently enrolled in the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., traveled to Fort Bragg, N.C., to observe a Joint Operational Access Demonstration, Jan. 11. Part of the Army Chief of Staff’s Fellows Program, this event promotes the professional education of U.S. allies and partner nations in order to develop their future leaders.
Each of the Army’s six combatant commands nominates international leaders to take part in the program; the nominees from each command get the opportunity to complete the year-long masters program at the U.S. Army War College. During the year, they also attend operational demonstrations at posts such as Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Benning Ga., and Fort Lewis, Wash.
“Some pretty impressive people have graduated from the U.S. Army War College,” said Col. William Steele, XVIII Airborne Corps protection officer, who was responsible for planning the event. Many past graduates have gone on to become four-star generals and presidents of state, Steele added. “These guys are going places.”
The international fellows observed as Paratroopers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, with help from the U.S. Army Advanced Airborne School, demonstrated actions inside an aircraft in a mockup of a C-130 Hercules aircraft. The Paratroopers also conducted a pull-off demonstration to display the steps involved in the deployment of a T-10D parachute as a jumper exits the aircraft.
The six foreign leaders then partnered with their airborne buddies, Fort Bragg Paratroopers, and were assisted in donning parachutes. After a group photo, the IFs, their airborne buddies, 14 jumpers and the jumpmaster team marched up the ramp of a C-130 so the foreign leaders could get an up-close look at an airborne operation.
During a static display demonstration, Paratroopers from various career fields presented the equipment they use to do their profession; artillerymen showed off a Howitzer, an infantry squad was strapped down with rifles and rocket launchers, a Raven operator assembled an unmanned aerial vehicle and a sniper was undetectable in his ghillie suit. The IFs approached Paratroopers at each station to admire their equipment and ask questions.
“It is really a symbiotic relationship which benefits both the Americans and us,” said Col. Joseph Seelo, an IF from Botswana. He added that events such as this help military leaders of allied nations better understand how each other operate so they can work together. “We tap into that experience to develop our operational capabilities,” he said.
Building these relationships is beneficial to all parties involved. Steele said U.S. Army leaders want their allies to know what they are capable of and what the Army and specifically the 82nd can bring to the table. “We want them to see what we can provide,” said the Cleveland, N.C., native. “We’re showing our allies we can be there to support them.”
Fostering these personal relationships can also lead to positive rapport for future missions. “(The fellows) are going to be leaders of their countries one day,” Steele said. “Those personal relationships are very important so we can come together.”
This work, Fort Bragg welcomes International Fellows, promotes professional education of allies, by SSG Kissta DiGregorio, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.