For the first time a company-sized formation from a U.S. Central Command partner military recently trained with U.S. soldiers at a U.S.-based combat training center.
A company of United Arab Emirates soldiers with the 11th Mountain Battalion embedded in the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division for a rotation from February 18 to March 5 at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana.
“This company and senior leadership could not be more energized,” said Lt. Gen. Patrick D. Frank, commander of U.S. Army Central Command.
Frank told Army Times on March 3 that successful partner rotations such as this have an exponential effect. U.S. leadership can take the results of this event and showcase them to other partners in the region to illustrate why training with the United States at its centers holds value.
The evolution kicked off with a brigade-level live fire, Emirati soldiers worked as one of the brigade’s companies during defensive operations, at least two air assaults and an offensive attack at the end of the rotation, Frank said.
But the Emirati soldiers began preparations for this rotation in September with a team of a dozen U.S. soldiers, one major and eleven experienced noncommissioned officers from the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade.
Col. Zachary Miller, 3rd SFAB commander, told Army Times that while his brigade has had a CENTCOM focus from its inception, that focus was aimed more at Afghanistan and Iraq. But with U.S. involvement in those past conflicts reduced, there are more chances for other partnerships to grow.
“We had a team available to move out to their compound, living with them and training with them,” Miller said.
That same team returns to the United Arab Emirates to help the Emirati unit improve any weak points identified in their training. Though Miller said there were few.
Speaking from the readiness center on March 3, Miller said that the trainers and observers at the center, who see well-trained U.S. light infantry units come through their gate were “equally impressed with the performance of the Emiratis.”
The company worked within the 10th Mountain brigade, conducting the same types of missions and requirements of the rest of the light infantry companies, Frank said.
The general said the main goal for both Emirati leadership and Army Central Command staff is to improve interoperability between and within the forces.
Though this was the first time a unit of this size trained at a U.S.-based center, U.S. soldiers have long trained at partner facilities in the region. The UAE has three premier facilities, Frank said. Two for field training exercises and one for cyber-focused mission training.
By having forces train at each host’s installations, Frank said, he sees ways for both sides to inform and improve each other.
For example, the head of UAE training centers visited the Louisiana-based facility and spent time with the opposition force units to add new methods and tactics for his opposition force units back in his home country, Frank said.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.