Soldiers with the British
Army’s 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, head out on a foot
patrol during Patriot ’08 at Fort McCoy.
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy)
Soldiers from the Georgia
Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment
hosted a company of soldiers from the British Army’s 4th Battalion,
The Yorkshire Regiment, during the exercise as part of a soldier-swap
program the two units have taken part in for the last few years.
For some of the Georgia
Soldiers, it was their first time working with the British troops, and
they noticed many similarities between the British and U.S. forces.
"The techniques they
use are almost exactly the same as the American Army, with just
slight, little differences," said Staff Sgt. Steven Johnsrud, who
is assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion,
118th Field Artillery Regiment. "They’re a little more rigid in
their SOPs than we are, but all-in-all the way they do things is
almost exactly the same. Their operations orders are identical. Their
arm and hand signals are almost identical."
One of the main differences
was the use of the chain of command.
"Their chain of
command is a little bit more rigid then ours," said Johnsrud, who
served as the training NCO liaison between the British and the United
States. "The sections will take their orders from the section
sergeants, always. The platoon sergeant gives the orders to the
section sergeants, the platoon leader will give the order to the
platoon sergeant. They’re a little more rigid, where oftentimes in
the American Army, the captain will say, ‘Corporal, go tell
Another one of those
differences was when it came to physical training.
"Their PT, physical
training, is different than ours in that it is heavily focused on foot
marching," said Johnsrud. "If the sergeant major said we’re
walking in, they’d grab their gear, nothing to it. I have a feeling
that these (soldiers) would out-walk a (U.S.) Ranger company and walk
them right into the ground."
For some of the British
soldiers, the differences were most notable not in the tactics and
techniques of the two armies, but the weather.
"I’m not used to the
heat," said British Sgt. Maj. Garry Smith, who trained with these
Soldiers last year at Fort Stewart, Ga. "I think it was hotter in
"The techniques they use are almost exactly the same as the
American Army, with just slight, little differences."
Sgt. Steven Johnsrud,
Training NCO Liaison,
118th Field Artillery Regiment
Even so, the weather didn’t
put a damper on things. "The training is the same," said
Smith. "I’ve enjoyed everything. I love being in the field
anyway. I could stay out in the field for weeks. I love it."
And Smith’s soldiers
"The village (used for
training on Military Operations in Urban Terrain) over there is
fantastic," said British Pvt. Robert Parkinson. "We did an
assault in it yesterday. We were the first assaulting team to break
into the buildings, and they played music like you were in Iraq or
Afghanistan. And you’ve got these pyrotechnics where it’s like an
incoming round and the pyrotechnics just explode. Me and my friend
were the last two into the building and (an incoming round simulator)
went off and it was like shrapnel flying off. I looked at him and was
like ‘there’s shrapnel.’"
But the training itself was
only one thing that Smith said he hoped his soldiers would get out of
"Quite a few of them
have never been out of England in their lives," he said. "So
it’s an adventure with the traveling and seeing a different culture
and working with a different nation. I think they’ll be talking
about this for a long time to come."
And that’s all part of
the experience, said Johnsrud, who will be going to England in
September with members of his unit to train with the British, which is
something he said he is looking forward to.
"Their attitudes are absolutely
amazing," he said. "It’s truly been really great working
with them. Like I said, when you’re working with dedicated and
motivated professionals, it’s always a pleasure. Always. I don’t
care where it is, what branch, what service, what country, people are
people, good ones are good."