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Minnesota National Guard
Operation New Dawn: Joint training offers cultural experience

UDAIRI RANGE, Kuwait — A new chapter of Operation New Dawn offers a cultural experience for some Soldiers from Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 135 Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division whom participated in a joint-training live-fire exercise hosted by soldiers in the 2nd Mechanized Battalion, Kuwait National Guard at Udairi Range, Dec 21

“The outcome looked really good I didn’t see any hiccups,” said Cpl John Richter, a truck commander during the exercise for Charlie Company, 2-135 Inf

One infantry platoon and a mortar section from 2-135 Inf was provided to offer their experience to soldiers from 2nd Mechanized Battalion, Kuwait National Guard during the 3 days prior to the event

During the exercise 2-135 Inf reenacted retreating on the battlefield, while the 2nd Mechanized Battalion set-up and ambushed the enemy threats, which ultimately lead to eliminating the enemy element

The exercise was performed at such a notable standard Richter commented, “in all honesty this was the highlight of my deployment so far—there was a lot of moving parts and events we aren’t able to do back home on stateside training”



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All soldiers executed a polished demonstration of tactical operations with flawless machine gunnery and artillery on the range, however this did not come easily

“The days leading up to this were long, but all the hard work paid off in the end,” said Richter a Winona, Minn, native

Throughout the event key leaders from both the Minnesota and Kuwait National Guard observed the event on an elevated platform While examining the well-rehearsed script, previous military experiences were shared

“As the United States Army we’ve had significant experience in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last ten years, so we can share our lessons learned, our expertise with some of these other countries including Kuwait because they have not had the exposure we’ve had,” said Maj Mike Pazdernik, 1/34 BCT training officer

The Kuwait National Guard employs several interpreters and American contractors to help facilitate their training They were amongst the soldiers during the entire exercise to assist in bridging the language barrier

“It’s one experience to train your Soldiers with that common culture, common language to train them on a task; when you’re trying to explain that through an interpreter, when you’re to work with someone who has a much different background to try to get the same point across it really reinforces what our Soldiers know because they really have to know and understand it to communicate it effectively across that language barrier through an interpreter,” said Pazdernik

After the live fire exercise, 2-135 Inf was invited to share an authentic Kuwaiti meal with the 2nd Mechanized Battalion

Pazdernik added, “At the individual soldier level this is a cultural experience that you can’t replicate anywhere else-it’s that opportunity to work with someone that has a much different background”

The leaders of 2nd Mechanized Battalion extended another invitation to have 1/34th BCT come back and potentially provide a whole company of Soldiers from the 2-135 when another Kuwait National Guard unit has reached the same point in their series of training programs

“This is a critical part of our ability to help the countries in the this region, including Kuwait, to be better postured and better capable of providing for their own defense as we move forward; our end state here is basically to work ourselves out of a job-it’s to allow these militaries to progress to a point where they’re capable of policing their own, defending their own,” said Pazdernik

21 Dec, 2011
Story and photos by Cpl Trisha Betz
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs





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