SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Professional and properly trained forces are vital to any military unit. Without trained professionals a unit cannot perform the duties they are meant to perform.
As part of the U.S. Southern Command’s “partner of choice” stand and Joint Task Force-Bravo’s commitment to enhancing partner nation capacity, a program of instruction for a potential instructor’s school was designed by JTF-Bravo Senior Enlisted Leaders with input from the top Senior Enlisted Leaders of the Honduran Armed Forces during a three-day workshop held from22-24 March. The overarching goal of the workshop was to create a product what will enhance the Honduran non-commissioned officer and officer corps.
“Professional military education is the backbone to any professional military force and the need for consistent and quality instructors is the key to its success,” said Master Sgt. Kristen Bamberger, JTF-Bravo Command Group Senior Enlisted Advisor, “This workshop allowed us create a program of instruction with a concentration on the unique needs of the Honduran Forces and their learning styles.”
The Joint Venture Leader Development Program began as a vision by Command Sergeant Major Shawn Carns, JTF-Bravo Command Sergeant Major, for a more professional NCO and Officer Corps in Central America. The process has involved months of coordination and meetings with the Senior Enlisted members of the Honduran forces to learn about their history and goals.
Through these meetings and discussions, JTF-Bravo leadership was able to identify the need for more qualified and skilled professionals and has partnered to create a standardized program for Honduran Military Instructors at every level of military education.
“In these past few days we have gotten to the point of designing a curriculum for an instructor training course which can apply to all branches of the armed forces and that will provide the basis of instruction in different specialties and fields of study,” said Sergeant Major Mario Ordoñez, Senior Enlisted Leader and instructor with the Honduran Air Force.
The foundation for this training comes from the United States Army Basic Instructor Course Program of Instruction and has been adapted to fit the specific needs of the host nation, including the topics of; human rights, sexual harassment, instruction techniques, and how to deal with combat stress, among others.
Sergeant Major Vicente Zuñiga, Senior Enlisted Leader for the Honduran Navy’s Center for Naval Studies said that working with personnel from JTF-Bravo has been highly beneficial and that so much can come from this joint venture. “We have shared our personal experiences and they have shared theirs and we have discussed many topics so that our personnel can understand and practice their duties more professionally,” he said.
The goal of the Honduran Military is to achieve a higher level of professionalism by using new teaching techniques that will allow them to pass on knowledge for future generations of soldiers across the armed forces.
1st Sergeant Clint Atchinson, Operations Senior Enlisted Advisor, emphasized on the importance of participating in the workshop. “We are maintaining and building upon a strong relationship that the Honduran and U.S. Forces have already established,” said Atchinson, “We are working, learning and building capacity together to assist the Hondurans to meet goals they have established in regards to Leader Development.”
After final edits, the US and Honduran SEA teams will submit the Program of Instruction and Joint Venture Program for approval by both the Honduran authorities and SOUTHCOM’s anticipating an initial pilot class by Spring 2018.
“We achieved much more than we even hoped throughout this workshop. Not only did we accomplish the POI, we developed lasting professional relationships as well as a greater understanding of each other's culture,” said Bamberger.