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NEWS | June 30, 2022

Kentucky Army Guard, SPP Partner Ecuador Exchange Knowledge

By Staff Sgt. Andrew Dickson, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

GREENVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky Army National Guard instructors met with six Ecuadorian enlisted instructors  June 27-30 in the latest engagement in their partnership of almost three decades.

Senior noncommissioned officer instructors from the 238th Regional Training Institute (RTI) met with senior noncommissioned officer instructors from Ecuador’s Army and Air Force to share ideas on how to train their service members.

Kentucky and Ecuador have been partners under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program for almost 30 years.

This engagement, according to Kentucky Air National Guard Capt. Joshua Selby, the bilateral affairs officer to Ecuador, is the first all-enlisted subject matter expert engagement.

During the engagement at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, the instructors from each partner nation found ways to improve instruction to service members.

During group discussions, Ecuadorian instructors learned how a quality assurance program for their instructional material could help provide standardized training to each of its four training regions.

“The big takeaway from this assessment is the quality assurance,” said Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Scott, an instructor with the 238th RTI. “They realized during this engagement that not all of their military instruction was being conducted with the same processes.”

Clinton also learned the model of training the Ecuadorian military uses, the experiential learning model (ELM), is very similar to the way the U.S. Army trains its Soldiers.

ELM teaches that there must be a concrete experience before learning information. That new information has to connect to that concrete experience before it can be learned.

“The Ecuadorians’ model is almost identical to ours,” said Scott.

The partnership between Ecuador and Kentucky is especially important for both countries.

“This engagement is big right now because of the political situation in Ecuador,” said Selby. “This partnership is still a high priority for Ecuador and the United States.”

Selby also gave an example of how the Kentucky National Guard is learning from Ecuador’s military to plan for natural disasters.

In 2016, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit the Manta region of Ecuador, killing almost 700 people and injuring hundreds of thousands. Over 13,500 military and police personnel helped with disaster relief.

The Kentucky National Guard trains regularly for such an event due to the proximity of the New Madrid fault. By engaging with Ecuadorian lessons learned, Soldiers and Airmen can be better prepared for any potential disaster.

Scott said the engagement was a way to compare processes and share experiences.

“I personally think it was great to do a senior leader engagement,” said Scott. “We were really able to make a great connection during the discussions.”