Romanian Army NCOs learn from US trainers
By MICHAEL S. DARNELL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 13, 2014
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany – Forty-two Romanian soldiers are scheduled to graduate March 18 from a U.S.-led noncommissioned officers training course, the first of its kind led by Americans on Romanian soil.
The Romanian troops finished off an 18-day Warrior’s Training Course at the Infantry and Mountain Troop Training Center in Fagaras, Romania. Five U.S. Army NCOs from the 7th Army Noncommissioned Officers Academy at USAG Grafenwöhr took the group through the leadership course. The Americans make up a mobile training team that travels across Europe and Africa in an effort to standardize NCO leadership skills among American forces and allies.
“We give them our way of doing things, our best practices and how we do business,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Don Anderson, first sergeant of the NCO academy. “We have the best military in the world, so why wouldn’t you want the best to train you?”
The NCO training is one of the smaller training exercises American forces are conducting with Romania, which shares hundreds of miles of border with Ukraine, a country now in turmoil since the ousting of its president. Recently, the USS Truxtun, a U.S. Navy destroyer, went to the Black Sea to take part in exercises with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces, while NATO leads reconnaissance flights through Romanian airspace to keep an eye on the situation in Ukraine. Many of the 42 Romanian NCOs who are in the course are part of their infantry special forces battalion.
Anderson said that recent developments in the area didn’t influence the training his troops provided and that his mobile team of instructors has been asked by several nations to assist in NCO training. However, it was the first time Romanian forces had requested the help of the 7th NCO Academy in training their NCOs directly.
The mobile training team led the Romanian troops through classroom-heavy leadership courses and hands-on training involving war-fighting tactics, drill-and-ceremony and physical-training instruction.
“Fitness is important to them,” Anderson said. “Matter of fact, they take our physical training directives and perfect them. These guys are perfectionists.”
Several of the Romanian corporals agreed with Anderson’s assessment, adding that they want to spread among their ranks the American attitude on NCO leadership.
“The most significant thing we learned is the importance of always trying to improve ourselves and our soldiers,” Romanian Cpl. Lucian Deac said. “Everyone has room for improvement and by continuing to learn and grow is the only way for our army to become more disciplined and proficient.”