Story and photo by 1st Lt. Zachary Kohl
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Afghan experts were invited to help train Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, to increase cultural awareness, Feb 14.
“The one thing that is really hard to teach to young Soldiers who are about to deploy is about the culture,” said Maj. Jason Webb, intelligence officer, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
The training involved Soldiers conducting key leader engagements with role players, the goal being to familiarize them with the customs and traditions of Afghan culture.
“At one point, I was like, darn, this actually feels like I am doing a key leader engagement,” said Spc. Christopher Sloan, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Inf. Regiment, 3rd BCT, of the realism provided by the training.
Even with the war in Afghanistan winding down, the training still has incredible value, explained Webb. The next conflict may take place in a nation with a culture very different from America. Soldiers will need to be able to relate to people from cultures foreign to their own.
“(Say) they don’t go to Afghanistan … they end up in Kuwait or Japan or Korea. The point is that they realize they don’t know as much as they think they know,” said Webb. “What they were taught by their family or their religious leaders or their friends when they grew up does not hold true for another place.”
Just as the Army has tough physical training , so too this training is designed to make Soldiers comfortable with unfamiliar situations. Like many difficult programs, this training is memorable.
“It is going to help the Soldiers in their lives and certainly their military careers,” said Webb.