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NEWS | Aug. 22, 2012

East Africa: Texas Army National Guard Soldiers take part in training seminar with Djiboutian, Kenyan armed forces

By Army Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon Task Force Raptor

EAST AFRICA - Soldiers with the Texas Army National Guard's 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment, currently deployed to the Horn of Africa, exchanged best practices in three different night vision goggle, or NVG, familiarization seminars hosted this summer by two East African nation militaries.

Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Filbeck and Spc. Rumaldo Hinojosa, were invited by the Kenya Armed Services to participate in an NVG exchange and then later invited by the Djibouti Armed Forces to two additional NVG seminars.

The seminars included the exchange of best practices on the maintenance and usage of the night vision system.

"We started with the basics of the goggles: how they work, the functions available, how to adjust the settings for best results, and how to wear them properly," said Filbeck, a platoon sergeant with the squadron's C Troop. "We also discussed the limitations of the NVGs and how to work around them."

At the end of each seminar the soldiers going through the exchange participated in a practical exercise to apply what they had learned.

"Each exchange ended with all of us putting on the NVGs and conducting a series of events," Filbeck said, adding that it gave the opportunity to see how well the information put out was retained.

Filbeck said he knows firsthand the value NVGs bring to men and women in combat environments.

"My squad and I used NVGs many times in Iraq during cordon and search missions, and dismounted and mounted patrols," Filbeck said. "I was able to realize the importance and advantage these goggles give us to successfully conduct missions."

At all three exchanges, he was asked to share these experiences with the partner nation soldiers.

"When they learned that I had experience using NVGs in Iraq, they immediately asked me to share them with the group, and I was honored to do so." Filbeck said. "I feel privileged that I was able to not only contribute to the exchange, but learn from it as well. It's good to know that maybe one day what was shared here could save someone's life."