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Culture Plays an Integral Part in Mobilization and Deployment

Reposted from Defense Video and Imagery Distribution Services

Story by Capt. Desiree Dillehay

RICHMOND, Ky. — The 149th Military Engagement Team began training in Mar. 2016 for their upcoming federal mobilization to the Middle East in support of U.S. Army Central Command operations.

“The team is eager to learn a new mission set, theater security cooperation, with all members filling their role within the team,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Gardner, commander of the 149th MET. “Each member plays a vital role.”

The approximately 25 Soldiers assigned to the team were hand selected from units across the Commonwealth of Kentucky to assemble as the 149th Military Engagement Team under the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Richmond.

To prepare for the deployment, the team conducted a variety of administrative tasks and Army warrior tasks during their Annual Training Aug. 6-14 at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville and their pre-mobilization training Oct. 26 to Nov. 9 in Greenville and Richmond.

Administrative tasks included a physical health assessment and Soldier readiness processing, while warrior tasks included close quarter marksmanship training, combatives, vehicle rollover training, convoy operations, entry control point training and land navigation, to name a few. The Army warrior tasks completed during the team’s annual training period are requirements for all mobilizing Soldiers.

The team also attended a variety of military courses, to include security cooperation courses at the Defense Institute of Security Cooperation Studies at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The security cooperation courses enabled the team members to better understand their role in relationship and rapport building with partner nations.

“It’s kind of the nuts and bolts of why we’re doing what we’re doing. And it really helped me to get a strategic level view of what we’re doing,” said Maj. James Schmitz, a liaison officer with the 149th MET.

While mobilized, the 149th MET will use its members’ extensive military and civilian skills to promote conditions for cooperation, regional security and regional stability throughout the Levant, Arabian Peninsula and Central and South Asia.

Another important aspect of the pre-mobilization training included five classroom days of culture and language training by the Army Training and Doctrine Command Culture Center Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center. The team delved into cultural norms and behaviors as well as the history of the countries they’ll be operating in during the mobilization. They also learned basic words and phrases in Russian and Modern Standard Arabic from an instructor with the Defense Language Institute.

“We must see security cooperation through the lens of our partner nation in order to maximize our effort,” said Gardner. “(Culture and language) training has given us the tools to do just that. We will be the only team of its kind in theater with this level of cultural training.”

In the final days of the pre-mobilization training, the team completed a mission readiness exercise, which allowed them to further develop their operational battle drills.

The 149th MET completed their Kentucky-based training Nov. 9, and prepared for movement to Fort Hood, Texas, where they will finish their deployment validation.

Scenic view of The Great Wall of China Landscape.