8/15/2013 - EINSIEDLERHOF AIR STATION, Germany -- American service members shared a Joint Fire Observation class with international soldiers on Einsiedlerhof Air Station, July 25, 2013. For the first time in history, American armed forces instructed its JFO course to international students. A representative from Hungary and two from the Czech Republic experienced the two-week class alongside American service members.
"This is the first time we've had international students," said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Chad Barrett, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Air Ground Operations School joint fire deputy. "The three international representatives we have also possess the three highest grades in the class. Their work ethic is outstanding, communication issues and languages barriers have been near transparent."
Soldiers from the Czech Republic and Hungary have been working side by side with their American counterparts since day one. Language was a concern; however, it was quickly considered an afterthought.
"We had a great opportunity presented to us," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Joshua George, USAFE-AFAFRICA AGOS JFO course NCOIC. "The training provided a view into each other's operations techniques. By having these students attend and garner knowledge, not only on their systems but ours creates a very cohesive operating unit."
Members from the Czech Republic and Hungarian armies shared George's thoughts on the program.
"We rapidly adapted into the program," said Czech armored forces 2nd Lt. Jan Ivan, 13th Artillery Brigade artillery reconnaissance platoon leader. "Here we are shown the flow of the joint course. It's amazing information that is provided to us, that otherwise we wouldn't have an opportunity to see."
Ivan's colleague also saw the training opportunity in a similar light.
"This information is quite valuable to help train and improve future Czech Republic and allied forces," said Czech Republic armed forces Staff Sgt. Petra Menhart, 13th Artillery Brigade artillery reconnaissance platoon gun commander. "It not only provides me with a wider view of the battlefield and better strategic thinking but also a view into how American forces think and operate."
Enhancing strategic capabilities of allied and NATO forces was also a keystone of the training.
"In almost every situation we deploy with allied forces and support," said Hungarian army 1st Lt. Nicolas Vétek, 25th Rifle Brigade, battery commander. "It is immensely helpful to have knowledge of the support mechanisms of our allied forces."
The American service members shared their counterparts view.
"We are able to learn about their techniques, tactics and procedures," said U.S. Army Pfc. Nicholas Davidson, 3rd Calvary Regiment platoon joint fire observer. "The confidence and comfortability built between us and these international forces should definitely enhance our combat readiness and effectiveness."
USAFE-AFAFRICA AGOS has incorporated international students into its curriculum and the students from all nations have adapted. With the tactical information provided and absorbed, AGOS looks to enhance the combat readiness and effectiveness of our own and allied troops.