BOISE, Idaho - A team of seven Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers traveled to Bangladesh to support exercise Shanti Doot 4 from Feb. 24 to March 12, 2018.
The team joined more than 1,000 participants from approximately 30 countries who participated in the annual multinational exercise at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training. The exercise provides pre-deployment training to United Nation partners preparing for real-world peacekeeping operations around the globe.
"Training, interacting, and learning from Soldiers from the multitude of countries in a multi-national training environment was an outstanding opportunity," said Sgt. Alex Cordova. "Experiencing other cultures develops us as more effective and efficient Soldiers and peacekeepers."
During the exercise, a team of four Idaho Army National Guard medical Soldiers served as subject-matter experts in medical first responder, basic life support and basic self-aid and lifesaving techniques.
Cordova, assigned to the Idaho Army National Guard's Medical Detachment in Boise, was the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the medical team. The team worked with medics from the Oregon National Guard, United States Army Pacific Command and the Canadian Air Force.
Because participants spoke more than a dozen languages, translators were necessary to facilitate the training. However, Idaho Soldiers quickly overcame the language barrier.
"Standing in front of a class, trying to explain basic medical skills in English, was more difficult than I first thought," said Sgt. Jacob Brown, a medic from Pocatello assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1-148th Field Artillery Regiment. "But once we transitioned into hands-on practical exercises, the language barrier disappeared and the Soldiers mastered the skills they were taught for basic life-saving techniques."
The medic team taught 480 Soldiers from 12 countries how to manage life-threatening injuries until the casualty reaches a higher level of care.
"It was the first time any of them had received any CPR training," said Lt. Col. Heidi Munro. "One of the older Soldiers cried during the after-actions review. He said he was grateful for the training we provided and told the story of the death of a young friend who may have survived had someone initiated CPR."
In addition, a team of three military intelligence officers trained 40 Bangladesh Army soldiers on information-lead operations in a peacekeeping environment. The 12-day course focused on basic information collection resources, capabilities and procedures.
"The Bangladesh soldiers were some of the most respectful, willing-to-learn people I've ever met," said Cpt. Kenneth Mecham, one of the course instructors. "It was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had since I've been in the Idaho Army National Guard."
Mecham said he made friends with five Bangladesh soldiers during the exercise and that he plans to remain in contact with them for a long time.
Shanti Doot 4 was held in the Indo-Pacific region by the Global Peace Operations Initiative. Its goal is to strengthen and develop global partnerships and increase the peacekeeping capabilities and capacities of all nations involved in peacekeeping for the United Nations. Shanti Doot translates to "ambassador of peace."