FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Moldovan field artillery officers are visiting the North Carolina National Guard's 139th Regional Training Institute as part of a State Partnership Program engagement from Aug. 12 – 17.
SPP was established over two decades ago and fosters military-to-military and civilian-to-military activities maintaining international defensive security efforts while increasing peace and stability across the globe.
This visit allows officers to engage with National Guard field artillery Soldiers during their cannon section chief Advanced Leader Course.
“This is important for the Moldovans because we have had two decades of partnership with Moldova and that helps with stability in that region," said Lt. Col. Brian Grey, the 1st Battalion, 139th Field Artillery Regiment commander. "This allows them to see how we do training, bring some lessons learned back to their country and increase professionalism. One of the things they are working toward is increasing the professionalism of their NCO corps and mirroring what we have.”
ALC is a branch-specific course providing intermediate noncommissioned officers an environment to enhance leadership skills, technical skills, tactical expertise and experience needed for branch-specific equipment and leading squad-sized units.
“This course teaches students how to be a section chief and what to expect,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dean Joyce, primary instructor of the cannon section chief ALC iteration. “We train them on the M119A3 Howitzer, M109A6 Paladin and the M777A2 Howitzer. They get a broad spectrum evaluation on their attitude and leadership, written skills and are tested on weapons systems and classroom activities.”
Joyce said he has traveled to Moldova three times and spoke on Moldovan interest in how their partners (NCNG) operate.
“They like the U.S. involvement over there,” said Joyce. “They are very smart and well-educated artillerymen and it is nice to have them come over here to see how we do things at the schoolhouse.”
The longstanding relationship between the North Carolina National Guard and Moldova allows both nations to strengthen various relationships as well as continuing to fulfill the mentoring role. This particular opportunity allows Moldovan officers to highlight what to strengthen for their enlisted counterparts after returning to Moldova.
“We have some of the same techniques and procedures,” said Moldovan Army Lt. Col. Ratchi Vladimir, head of the artillery department in Moldovan Army and first time U.S. visitor. “We are taking videos and pictures to show to students for them to use in our international exercises to gain interoperability with the U.S. Army. There is about a 20 percent difference in managing our systems but the duties for each crew is almost the same. There are different calibers and towing vehicles.”
While at the 139th, Moldovan soldiers will also observe Tactical Operation Center operations, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) live-fire exercise, and shadow forward observers during live-fire exercises.
Later this year, N.C. National Guard Soldiers will be traveling to Moldova to participate in their annual Operation Fire Shield, an exercise used to broaden field artillery knowledge on various weapons systems with Moldovan and Romanian counterparts.