CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – A Camp Arifjan military police unit partnered with Kuwaiti soldiers for combined training on law enforcement tasks here Oct. 29, 2013. The training is part of a 10-day exercise between the U.S. Army Reserve soldiers of Detachment 1, 450th Military Police Company, and the 94th Al-Yarmouk Mechanized Brigade.
Leadership from both units agreed to a training schedule which highlighted both basic soldiering skills, such as unarmed self defense and urban operations, and law enforcement specific skills, such as crowd control techniques and arrest procedures.
The first class of the morning, taught by U.S. Army Reserve Cpl. Tyler Saro, was on the use of flexible cuffs, similar to zip-ties, to quickly detain someone during a crowd control situation. Saro emphasized the best methods for maintaining control of the individual while minimizing injuries.
“I have trained with the Afghan National Army and the Iraqi Army, and now I have trained with Kuwaiti Army,” said Saro, a Tampa, Fla. native. “It’s nice to see how other armies learn and train. We’re here as equals. We’ve been talking to some of their sergeant equivalents, and they’ve been teaching us how they were taught to do certain tasks.”
Saro said that working on common tasks, despite some of the difficulties of working through a translator, helped them bond on a soldier-to-soldier level. His enthusiasm was reciprocated by the Kuwaiti soldiers.
“[My soldiers] are excited. They showed a lot of enthusiasm for the training. The knowledge they get is thorough. The method of teaching is simple and right to the point,” said Warrant Officer Mohammed Al-Duraibi, 94th Al-Yarmouk Mechanized Brigade. Warrant officer rank in the Kuwaiti military is similar to a brigade sergeant major in the U.S. military. “Warfare always gets more technical as the enemy changes methods. What better way is there than to learn from people who have experienced it?”
Al-Duraibi has overseen combined training with U.S. troops for five years. He said the key to successful training is built at an interpersonal level, starting with respect.
“Mutual respect is always good, once you have it, you’ll have a good partnership and the situation in the region needs good partnership. Friendship comes first and then good knowledge and experiences follows – on both sides,” said Al-Duraibi.
Experience-building is a key aspect of the training for the U.S. and Kuwaitis. On the American side, this is the first trip to Kuwait or the first overseas deployment for some soldiers. With a large majority of corporals within the unit ranks, it is also a key professional development milestone: teaching combined classes.
“It’s going to be important for American soldiers to continue to learn about and grasp new cultures and different ways of life. In America, we have a lot of great traditions and a lot of great values, but the world is a big place. People are people; they want to be cherished and respected,” said Maj. J. Martin Plumlee, DET 1, 450th MP Co. executive officer. Plumlee worked with Al-Duraibi to plan and execute the training.
Plumlee said he was pleased that his soldiers were humble and receptive to learning from their Kuwaiti counterparts and expressed that for many of his troops this training event, and a subsequent event scheduled to take place before their redeployment, will be the highlight of their time here.
“In the end, we all can learn from each other,” said Plumlee.