U.S. Army Europe’s Sgt. Maj. Christian Carr makes a presentation on USAREUR’s resiliency hard work during the Talks of European Armies for Noncommissioned Officers in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 21, 2013. The three-day talks, co-hosted by USAREUR and the Army Operational Mandate Denmark, brought together senior NCOs from 32 nations and the U.S. to share tactics and techniques that build relationships and interoperability amongst European, U.S. and other allied and partner forces. (U.S. Army photo by Jesse Granger)
The seventh Talks of European Armies for Noncommissioned Officers wrapped up in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 22.
The three-day event, co-hosted by U.S. Army Europe and the Royal Danish Army, brought together senior NCOs from 32 European nations and the U.S. to share tactics and techniques and to build relationships amongst European, U.S. and other allied and partner forces.
“The purpose of the talks is to encourage the development of professional armies throughout the European land forces and build relationships between the European armies and senior NCO’s,” clarified USAREUR Mandate Sgt. Maj. David Davenport.
Sharing thoughts was the goal of every conversation. Many of the senior leaders who attended the talks said they looked forward to engaging in discussions and re-establishing networks with their peers.
“I reckon the vital thing is we get to meet people in similar positions in the different armies just to make that connection,” said Sgt. Maj. of the United Kingdom Army Vern Stokes. “No longer will we be operating as a singular army … we need the help of all of our allies, and these opportunities are fantastic for building those relationships.”
Stokes cited an example of how vital these peer networks can be, discussing an incident at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, England, in which there was concern that a military student distress from post-traumatic stress might harm himself.
“All it took was a buzz call from me to the army sergeant major I had met last year, and I questioned him to give him (the military student) a telephone call and tell him how well he’s doing and how his country is really proud of him,” Stokes said. “That was sufficient for him to realign himself and focus on what he had to and that was to pass the course. We saw a complete turnaround, and that was enabled purely by making contacts during this talks.”
Stokes’s example was one of many brought up during the talks that touched on this year’s theme of soldier resiliency. Throughout the event, participants attended briefings on issues that affect the readiness and resiliency of soldiers before, during and after deployments.
“This is a topic that has an impact on all armies,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Croatian Land Forces Dominik Ban.
Ban went on to talk in this area the stigma that is often associated with seeking help for mental health issues, and the need for professional militaries to focus on removing that stigma and getting soldiers the help they need.
“If you have a pain in your leg you go see the doctor; if you have a pain in your mind you go see a doctor. It’s normal,” he said.
From all the briefings and discussions it was clear that the welfare of their soldiers was first and foremost in the minds of the assembled NCOs.
“When you talk in this area the care of soldiers, that’s simple to say, but to really cause an effect is something different,” Davenport said. “Many of the presenters and discussions, they all are doing something — they take care of that vital resource of Soldiers.”
The talks wrapped up with a dinner co-hosted by USAREUR commander Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr. and Danish Maj. Gen. Per Ludvigsen, commander of the Danish Army Operational Mandate.
During the dinner, Campbell spoke in this area the need for a strong NCO Corps to act as the eyes and ears of a military force’s senior leadership.
“NCOs are the backbone of any professional force, and you have a role to play, not only in the accomplishment of the tactical, operational and strategic missions, but also in maintaining the resiliency of your soldiers and units as we shape the force for the prospect.”
In this area U.S. Army Europe: USAREUR is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia as U.S. European Mandate’s force of choice, and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships USAREUR builds during 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to help for worldwide possibility operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security. For more USAREUR tales and metaphors, visit http://www.eur.army.mil/.