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    British course fosters interoperability at lowest levels

    British course fosters interoperability at lowest levels

    Photo By 2nd Lt. Robert Bannon | Lt. Charlie Byrd, Troop and Course Leader, Queen's Dragoon Guard, British Armed...... read more read more



    Story by 2nd Lt. Robert Bannon 

    Battle Group Poland

    A multinational formation of junior Soldiers – four Americans, two Croatians, one Romanian and 12 British – stood proudly in the pouring rain as His Excellency Jonathan Knot, UK Ambassador to Poland, addressed them at the Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, August 3, 2018.

    “I'm very pleased to visit you on this day when you finish your course, when you start – I very much hope – the first steps that you'll take to leadership,” said Knot. “Every person in a leadership position has a privilege and a responsibility. I welcome you to those privileges and responsibilities.”

    Battle Group Poland - a multinational coalition of U.S., U.K., Croatian, and Romanian Soldiers who serve under the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade as a deterrence force – embodies a beehive of interoperability, providing numerous opportunities for cross-training. Executed from July 23 to Aug. 3, the British run potential non-commissioned officer cadre course served to advance the Battle Group’s mission at its lowest echelons.

    In the British Army, the course is one of the prerequisites for promotion to Lance Corporal – the equivalent of a private first class. It centers on command leadership capability, testing a broad spectrum of skills: academics, public speaking, drill and ceremony, command presence and tactical proficiency. With its completion, junior Soldiers prove that they possess the discipline and mettle to shoulder the next tier of responsibility.

    Battle Group Poland began conducting the course under 2nd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment’s command, but during 1st Squadron’s rotation, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards expanded it to include volunteers from all multinational allies. For the British Soldiers, the inclusion of foreign partners presented an additional challenge, as well as an opportunity for growth and multinational camaraderie.

    The course began as 25 participants moved into a tent outside of the base’s central footprint. From the outset, instructors established a strict tone, stressing the importance of uniformity and attention to detail.

    “The idea is that they get scaled down to the absolute basics of what is necessary to operate,” said Lt. Charlie Byrd, Eagle Troop Leader and Course Officer, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, British Army. “Everything that the modern Soldier might do to make his life easier is taken away. As a result, it gives them the faith to know that they can survive and thrive on the bare minimum.”

    Based primarily in camp, the first week consisted of lessons on British drill, essay composition, public speaking, leadership theory, and the responsibilities expected of a Junior NCO. The non-British PNCOs also learned how to employ an SA80, the standard U.K. service rifle. The second week included a field exercise to test the PNCO’s ability to lead a squad in combat operations under the stress of sleep deprivation.

    “It’s all material that the Soldiers have been exposed to in the past, but in the past, they would’ve consulted the chain of command if they didn’t understand something,” said Byrd. “In this instance, they were left to their own devices to execute because they, themselves, were in the command appointments.”

    The field exercise was followed by redeployment and a graduation ceremony, Aug. 3. According to Cpl. Thomas Warner, senior instructor for the PNCO cadre course, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guard, British Army, the student's growth was evident in their test scores and strength of character. On average, the international students scored 60 percent higher on the final than the entrance exam.

    At the closing ceremony, standout performers were recognized in front of their peers, leadership, and the broader Battle Group Poland community. Spc. Timothy Smith, infantryman, Quickstrike Troop, 4th Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, received the course’s highest honor in addition to the Army Achievement Medal.

    “For me personally, being positive and having a good attitude was the most important thing that pushed me through the course,” said Smith. “When we were in the middle of low crawling for forty five minutes, being able to laugh it off made a difference. Otherwise, you get that one negative moment, and it kills morale for the rest of the team.”

    The course may have concluded, but the personal relationships built through its hardships resonate beyond graduation day. Spc. Smith and his peers are already forming plans to show their new British friends around Germany.



    Date Taken: 08.08.2018
    Date Posted: 08.08.2018 07:08
    Story ID: 287764
    Location: BEMOWO PISKIE, PL

    Web Views: 598
    Downloads: 1