SOUTHWEST ASIA – U.S. soldiers who are reconnaissance platoon members from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, partnered with elements of the Kuwait Emiri Guard to conduct urban operations training last month at a training village in Southwest Asia.
Kuwait's Emiri Guard is equivalent to the U.S. Secret Service in regards to its primary mission of protecting Kuwait's leadership.
"It's an honor to safeguard our national leaders," said Capt. Jamal al-Obaidi, tactical team leader, Emiri Guard, Kuwait Armed Forces.
The U.S. soldiers are currently deployed to Kuwait as a part of defense cooperation between Kuwait and the United States. The purpose of the training was to collaborate on tactics and techniques in order to promote partnership between the units.
"Partnership means sharing of information," said al-Obaidi. "It's good to know different methods of protecting VIPs."
Both forces practiced room clearing and building clearing operations, sharing different ideas and tactical concepts.
During the training hybrid teams were formed with members from each force working together to clear rooms to enhance capabilities and increase interoperability between forces.
"Joint operations help us work together better," said Spc. Edward Meredith, cavalry scout, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment. "We're making ourselves better as they are making themselves better."
The event included the use of 5.56mm Short Range Training Ammunition, which are nonlethal rounds fitted with colored wax-filled cartridges to enhance the joint-training event.
"The training is more realistic because of the practice ammunition," said al-Obaidi.
Making the training as realistic as possible is key to gauging true capabilities, according to Staff Sgt. David Murray, cavalry scout, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment.
"Using the training rounds gives a more accurate feedback instead of training being adjudicated by an observer/controller," said Murray.
Conducting joint operation is nothing new for some veteran soldiers.
"I've done joint operations in the past with Afghans and Europeans, but this event is different," said Meredith. "We're working with the force that protects the Kuwaiti prince. We're helping each other succeed for any future operations."
However, for many of the younger soldiers, this deployment provides the first opportunity to work alongside a military force from another nation.
"I didn't realize how important it was to see how other forces train, and I didn't know we would conduct joint operations with such an important group of individuals," said Pfc. Patrick Keller, cavalry scout, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment.
The 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, continues to promote regional stability alongside the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.
"I'm glad to partner with professional forces like the U.S. Army. We're happy to work with them and hope to do more in the future," said al-Obaidi.