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    Idaho National Guard conducts leadership exchange in Cambodia

    Idaho National Guard conducts leadership exchange in Cambodia

    Photo By Maj. Robert Taylor | Maj. Samuel McDowell observes members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces rehearse an...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Robert Taylor 

    Joint Force Headquarters - Idaho National Guard

    In early December, three Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers traveled to Cambodia to participate in a pre-deployment leadership exchange with members of the United Nations’ National Peacekeeping, Mines, and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance program. The exchange focused on developing leadership at the platoon and company level.

    Maj. Samuel McDowell, 1st Sgt. Cole Schwartz and Sgt. 1st Class Luis Velasquez interacted and engaged with 12 members of the NPMEC program who serve in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces during the 10-day mission that included discussions on map reading, troop leading procedures, operation orders and production and the use of an operations sand table.

    The mission was part of the Idaho National Guard’s State Partnership Program with Cambodia. The program facilitates the exchange of ideas, capabilities, training and experience between Soldiers and Airmen of the Idaho National Guard and members of the Cambodian military.

    The Cambodian Soldiers were between the ranks of chief warrant officer and lieutenant colonel. The Soldiers had previously all deployed to Mali in support of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force under United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali and are preparing for future deployments in a similar role.

    “They shared their EOD experiences in Mali clearing UXOs and we were able to tell them about our experiences dealing with IEDs in Iraq,” said Schwartz, referring to explosive ordinance disposal, unexploded ordinances and improvised-explosive devices, respectively.

    Schwartz deployed with the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team to Iraq in 2004-2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. He said that the language barrier between the Soldiers was easy to overcome due to the use of interpreters and translated slides and handouts for the class.

    “The officers were very welcoming to the ideas we exchanged,” Schwartz said.

    In addition, Cambodian officers led multiple discussions regarding convoy operations, patrol base activities and general tactics based on their previous deployments with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force.

    The mission was Schwartz’s first deployment to Cambodia.

    “It was a very memorable experience,” he said. “The members of our group have travelled around the world and have been to a lot of countries. The Cambodian people were some of the most humble and sincere people we’ve ever worked with.”

    Idaho and Cambodia have participated in the State Partnership Program together since 2009. Each year, the Idaho National Guard makes roughly six to nine similar trips to Cambodia and provides approximately 40 Soldiers and Airmen the opportunity to participate.

    In addition to Cambodia, Soldiers from the Idaho Army National Guard completed a variety of missions in 12 countries in 2017: Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, Guatemala, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Romania, Taiwan, Tanzania and Thailand.



    Date Taken: 12.29.2017
    Date Posted: 12.29.2017 17:30
    Story ID: 260866
    Location: BOISE, ID, US 
    Hometown: BOISE, ID, US

    Web Views: 471
    Downloads: 0