International Military Training Solidifies Global Relationships

Article excerpt

[The following is a reprint from the Fort Sam Houston News Leader, Volume 37, No. 29, July 21, 2005. We thank the Fort Sam Houston News Leader for allowing us to reprint the article. To read the News Leader in its entirety please go to the following web site:]

Training is an integral part of the United States Army mission, and Fort Sam Huston units conduct a great amount of training. What makes this Army post's training mission even more unique is its international military training.

Every year hundreds of military and civilian students from more than seventy-five countries come to the Army Medical Department Center and School at Fort Sam Huston, Texas, to gain valuable training in their respective career fields.

Students' ranks vary from privates to general officers. Many of the students trained at Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDDC&S) are now senior officers in highly ranked governmental positions is strategic countries.

"The new surgeon generals from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other key members of the international military medical community are among students trained at AMEDC&S," said Oscar Ramos-Rivera, chief AMEDDC&S International Military Student Office.

The AMEDDC&S international training program falls under the Department of Defense Joint Security Assistance Training Program, which is designed to strengthen U.S. alliances globally and create new relationships with international partners. The international training is funded either through the foreign military sales (FMS), under which the country pays for training, or through international military education training (IMET) program for which the U.S. either pays or augments training costs with congressionally appropriated funds to support operations such as counter narcotics and counter terrorism.

"The Department of State and the Department of Defense execute this program to foster relationships with individual countries as part of our national security strategy," said Ramos-Rivera. "Our mission has allowed us to build and maintain skilled coalition partners and affords many future leaders the opportunity to understand our military values. The long-term effect will be for people to remain in contact with U.S. counterparts."

The AMEDDC&S mission is to train, sustain and evaluate U.S. and international military health care personnel of all Department of Defense branches and allied countries so they can ensure optional health and readiness of America's military forces and its coalition partners anytime, anywhere.

"The world is getting much smaller today, so establishing relationships with other people in this small world is important," said William Lesjak, associate dean, Academy of Health Sciences. "We have the privilege of conducting medical training and give key leaders and troops of other countries the opportunity to experience our culture. In a war setting, established relationships and a common link are important."

U.S. Soldiers train alongside of old allies, Britain, Australia and Canada, as well as newly acquired friends from Kyrgyzstan, Slovenia, and Slovakia.

"My country is a young country, so we have to learn a lot," and Kyrgyzstan Lieutenant Colonel Amanbay Matisakov, who is attending the AMEED Officer Advanced Course for Medical Logistics. "American Army and Soldiers have a lot of experience. The U.S. is the most modern and powerful Army in the world, so it is good to learn from them."

While the students learn a great deal during their training at AMEDDC&S, they also contribute quite a bit to its mission. Many of the students are experts in their specialties. They are educators, publishers, instructors and deans of their respective countries' military academics. Some conduct extensive research and have written articles for AMEDD Journal--a quarterly publication geared toward the medical community worldwide. …