June 29, 2009

British Soldier joins 116th BCT for annual training

By Spc. J. Erin Jones
116th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — A group of Soldiers stood around talking and laughing as they relived the urban combat training exercise they just completed. One Soldier in particular stood out of the crowd. His uniform was khaki in a sea of green camouflage and he spoke with a distinct accent.

  Color Sgt. Steve Kibble

Color Sgt. Steve Kibble, G Company, 7 Rifles, London, England, listens to a range-safety brief at Fort Pickett during the 116th Brigade Combat Team’s 2009 annual training. Kibble, a participant in the enlisted Soldier exchange program, trained along with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team as a way to learn how the U.S. Army operates. (Photo by Spc. J. Erin Jones, 116th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)


His name is Color Sgt. Steve Kibble, company quartermaster sergeant with G Company, 7 Rifles, London, England who is at Fort Pickett for the 116th Brigade Combat Team’s 2009 annual training as a participant in the enlisted Soldier exchange program.

The program matches senior enlisted Soldiers from the United States with Soldiers from other countries, usually Germany or Great Britain, said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Hawkins, of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team, Leesburg, Va.

“It’s an opportunity for us to train with each other and see how the other side works,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins and Kibble were picked for the exchange program because of their military qualifications and were paired with each other based on rank.

During his time at Fort Pickett, Kibble is scheduled to work alongside Hawkins and participate in Company C ’s training.

“I literally shadow him,” said Kibble. “I see how he does his job and if there is anything that we do differently in the British Army that he could use and vice versa,” he added.

“Not only will he be able to take what he has learned here back to his unit, but he has also helped C Company by giving input on how we could do things differently,” said Hawkins.

  Color Sgt. Steve Kibble

Color Sgt. Steve Kibble, G Company, 7 Rifles, London, England, fires a German rifle at Fort Pickett during the 116th Brigade Combat Team’s 2009 Annual Training. Kibble, along with other Soldiers from the 116th BCT, was given the opportunity to try and earn the German Armed Forces Badge of Military Proficiency. (Photo by Spc. J. Erin Jones, 116th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)


“We’re exchanging information basically, and I’ve found it actually brilliant so far,” said Kibble.
Kibble said that in England everyone wants to do the exchange program with America because America uses good, high profile tactics and the languages are roughly the same.

The training has been very similar, said Kibble.  However, the tactics and the way U.S. Soldiers approach things is slightly different, he added.

In England Kibble is in charge of the supply for his company. During his two weeks at Fort Pickett he is slated to learn everything from how the U.S. Army’s chain of command works, to infantry combat skills.

Kibble said he enjoys getting out in the woods and working on his infantry skills.

“I like getting dirty,” said Kibble as sweat dripped down his dust covered face. “I like getting muddy. I like getting hot and sweaty.”

“He’s no different than any other Soldier,” said Hawkins as he grinned.  “He trains just as hard as anybody else.”

Kibble said when he returns to England he plans to write a post exercise report for his company commander. The commander will then use that information to improve G Company, he added.

“What I would put onto the bottom of that PXR is that the exchange program from my eyes has been very beneficial for me,” said Kibble.

During the second part of the exchange program Hawkins is scheduled to participate in Kibble’s AT, which is slated to take place mid September in Kazakhstan.

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