CAMP TAHREER, Kuwait - Anyone who's ever talked shop with logistics soldiers knows that "loggies" have a language all their own.
When the command team of 371st Sustainment Brigade attended the Kuwaiti National Guard (KNG) Workshop & Transportation Capabilities Demonstration at Camp Tahreer, Kuwait, on Jan. 23, 2014, an interpreter was need to translate the English and Arabic being spoken. However, everyone present understood the common language of sustainment operations on display.
The demonstration was the culmination of nine months of relationship building between the KNG troops under Kuwaiti Brig. Gen. Faleh Shuja' Faleh Al-Otaibi, commander, KNG Support Command, and the deployed Ohio Army National Guard 371st Sustainment Brigade, under the command of Col. Gregory Robinette. With the assistance of a translator, the two commanders presided over the one-hour demonstration by KNG support soldiers on Taheer's parade field.
More than 40 U.S. and Kuwaiti service members watched the demonstration through the glass walls of an observation porch that felt more like a traditional Kuwaiti Dewaniya, or reception room, than the typical U.S. parade field dais. While the action unfolded outside, the military observers were served tea and stuffed figs in the Persian carpet-lined porch furnished with overstuffed sofa chairs.
The event included simulated explosions and smoke, as the KNG Transportation Battalion troops reacted to scenarios of recovering stranded vehicles and the egress of sustainment vehicles under attack. Camp Tahreer's massive parade field was also staged with static displays of KNG support vehicles including Pandur, Styr and Man tactical vehicles as well as the Kuwaiti version of the U.S. Army HMMWV. Technology was also on display as KNG mechanics demonstrated their remote vehicle status monitoring capabilities.
Maj. Devin Braun, support operations mobility chief with the 371st, attended the event and was impressed.
"The Kuwaitis demonstration showed they are professional, well organized and disciplined in their command and control." Braun said, "We saw they have good SOPs and they know how to communicate, move and recover."
Maintaining the relationship with the host nation has been part of the mission for the Ohio National Guard unit during their 2013-14 deployment to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Conducting key leader engagements, or KLEs, is one of the most effective ways to make the connection. This event was the fifteenth KLE conducted by the Ohio logistics unit and the KNG. Most of the meetings were part of a joint training and leadership exchange being conducted since October 2013.
After the KLE, Braun commented on the relationship between the sustainment brigade and their Kuwaiti partners,
"If you're going to be working on an enduring basis with partners like the Kuwaitis, you have to develop relationships at the operational level through engagements like this. Getting to know one another is important and the end result is a relationship that facilitates day-to-day operations in Kuwait."