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Feature Stories

NEWS | July 29, 2020

Task Force Spartan Engineers Get a Look at How Their Kuwaiti Partners Train

By Story by Sgt. Trevor Cullen Task Force Spartan

Task Force Spartan engineers recently took advantage of an opportunity to tour the Kuwait Land Forces Engineer School to get a closer look at how its peers in Kuwait train their engineers and encourage future partnerships.

“We visited the Kuwait Land Force Engineer School to talk the future of subject matter expert exchanges with the British and the school’s commandant,” said Lt. Col. Michael Rodriguez, the Task Force Spartan engineer officer-in-charge. “We were able to meet them and layout a timeline and resources for mutually beneficial exchanges.”

The tour included a bonus, a chance exchange with another close ally who also guides the KLF.

“I am part of the British Military Mission here in Kuwait,” said Warrant Officer Two Andrew Foley. “We are here on a two-year rotation.”

Foley works together with the KLF at the engineer school to help share knowledge and best practices.

“There are three wings at the school here,” said Foley. “There’s explosive ordinance disposal, combat and plant.”

These wings are the different roles engineers can fall into in the KLF Engineer Corps.

“It’s similar to our engineers,” said Master Sgt. Jonathon Little, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Task Force Spartan engineer cell. “We could work in their formation and they could work in ours if necessary.”

The ability to work together can allow for shared understanding.

“One of the great things working with friends and allies is that we can brief and teach them,” said Little. “It builds our playbook.”
This ‘playbook’ of tactics and best practices can be ever-changing as time goes on.

“In the engineers, there are always new tactics and lessons learned,” said Little. “Guys coming back from deployment or even basic training can know new things that they learned.”

Soldiers coming back from different experiences often have something they can teach.

“Subject matter experts are experts in their field,” said Rodriguez. “Usually at the NCO level, your E-6 and E-7 [Staff Sgt. and Sgt. 1st Class] and at the officer level, senior first lieutenants and captains.”

Full-scale exercise between the U.S. Army and KLF is nothing new, but subject matter expert exchanges can also be quite valuable, narrowing the focus.

“The benefit of subject matter expert exchanges is getting to specific training and integration at the lowest level,” said Rodriguez. “During a training exercise, unless you’re embedded, you may not get that same level of interaction.”

This level of interaction is best available, working together.

“There’s every opportunity to work with the Kuwaitis and our partners,” said Rodriguez. “Integration is key. It’s invaluable.”