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Nepalese soldiers continue training at Richardson

David Bedard
Fort Richardson PAO

Capt. Anees Dhoj Khadka, Nepalese Army Ranger Battalion, stands at attention during the Aug. 19 first formation for Warrior Leader Course Class 06-09. Khadka attended courses at the Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Brevard Noncommissioned Officer Academy so he may return to Nepal to further establish the country’s WLC program. (Photos by David Bedard/Fort Richardson PAO)
Capt. Anees Dhoj Khadka, Nepalese Army Ranger Battalion, stands at attention during the Aug. 19 first formation for Warrior Leader Course Class 06-09. Khadka attended courses at the Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Brevard Noncommissioned Officer Academy so he may return to Nepal to further establish the country’s WLC program. (Photos by David Bedard/Fort Richardson PAO)

After successfully completing the Warrior Leader Course at the Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Brevard Noncommissioned Officer Academy, three international military students from the Nepalese Army continue their training at the NCOA where they are currently enrolled in the Army Basic Instructor Course and the Small Group Instructor Training Course.

Nepalese Army Capt. Anees Dhoj Khadka, said he and corporals Ghimire Dipak Prasad and Tek Bahadur Karki were selected from Nepal’s sole Army Ranger battalion to attend WLC, ABIC and SGITC to establish the training cell for a Nepal Army WLC. Two teams had already attended training at NCOA, Hawaii and currently provide the cadre for the budding program.

Deborah Loper, NCOA international military student officer, ABIC instructor and SGITC instructor, said different installations who are members of the Security Assistance Training Field Activity initiative are responsible for sponsoring different nations. In the last three years, NCOA has hosted international military students from Mongolia, the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Tonga.

“It’s a part of training our allies as well as building good relations with other countries by providing their students with training,” Loper said.

According to Loper, ABIC is geared to any Army leader while SGITC is geared specifically for instructors like NCOA small group leaders.

“ABIC and SGITC teach the Soldiers more leadership skills than they would learn on their own in WLC, (Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course) or (Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course),” Loper explained. “It teaches them more about communication, being able to read people, because most NCOs are required to give some kind of training to their Soldiers, especially if you are in a leadership position. You need to be able to prepare lesson plans, presentations, and ABIC provides the basics to be able to do those things.”

Khadka said the course will help him and and the corporals to take care of the details of running a WLC course.

“WLC gave us a lot of ideas on how to arrange for things, how to conduct WLC,” Khadka said. “We had knowledge about the small things you teach inside the course, but it is advantageous for us to find out how the whole thing is done.”

For her part, Loper said she attended a rigorous one-week long international military student training located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where she became versed in cultural considerations, State Department procedures and what to expose students to during their visit.

“We’re not supposed to just show them the perfect side of the United States,” Loper elaborated. “We’re encouraged to show them what the United states is really about. We have jails. We have a homeless population. We show them that, although we are not perfect, we’re striving for the ideal.

“The international students get a taste of what the United States is really like and what Americans are really like,” Loper continued. “Different countries that I have visited really think of us as being ‘ugly Americans.’ But when we host foreign students, they get to see that we’re actually a very welcoming people, that stories they may have heard about us weren’t true and they get a really good dose of American life.”

Cpl. Tek Bahadur Karki, Nepalese Army Ranger Battalion, watches his sector Sept. 10 during the Warrior Leader Course field training exercise. Nepalese Army Rangers comprise the nation’s special operations air assault strike force, responsible for rapid deployment anywhere in the mountainous country while also providing training assistance to other commands.
Cpl. Tek Bahadur Karki, Nepalese Army Ranger Battalion, watches his sector Sept. 10 during the Warrior Leader Course field training exercise. Nepalese Army Rangers comprise the nation’s special operations air assault strike force, responsible for rapid deployment anywhere in the mountainous country while also providing training assistance to other commands.

According to the Nepalese Army Web site, the Ranger Battalion was established in 2003 to prosecute counterinsurgency operations in the difficult, mountainous Himalayan terrain in response to the lessons learned during a protracted campaign fighting Maoist insurgents. Unlike U.S. Army Rangers, which are primarily trained for airborne operations, the Nepalese Army Rangers were organized as an air assault quick reaction force, using helicopters to respond to remote regions.

Loper said she, the NCOA staff and WLC students have all taken notice of the elan represented by the Nepalese Army soldiers, with all three graduating in the top 20 of 71 WLC students.

“Everyone has been very impressed with the training and the professionalism that these Soldiers have brought to our country,” Loper related. “They show us that, although we may think that we’re the best, there are other people that rank right up there with us.”

Loper said she was also impressed with the soldiers’ grasp of English. International military students are required to pass an English comprehension test before being admitted to a SATFA-sponsored course.

Khadka said English is compulsory for Nepal students from 4th grade in public schools. Although versed in the “Queen’s English,” Khadka said he was surprised by all of the diverse American dialects.

“I didn’t have any problems understanding and speaking English,” Khadka explained. “But when you come here and you get to hear the new accents, then it’s pretty amazing how all different types of people speak. It’s really cool.”

Although located at approximately the same latitude as the state of Florida, Nepal’s mountainous regions make for climactic conditions ranging from tropical to arctic, depending upon altitude.

“I think Alaska is pretty similar to Nepal—the weather, the mountainous terrain, the people,” Khadka said of his experience in the Last Frontier. “The only thing that we don’t have in Nepal is Alaska is more developed than Nepal in the sense of infrastructure.”

With only a few weeks before they return to Nepal, Loper said she is going to miss the elite foreign soldiers who have broadened the horizons of NCOA students and cadre during their visit.

“We get to see what their culture is about,” Loper mused. “We find that we are more alike than different and I think it opens a lot of people’s minds.”