Building a team of many talents and adapting to suit local culture has helped soldiers deliver a reconnaissance masterclass to Kuwaiti troops.
Exercise Desert Warrior has seen some 100 soldiers from eight different units of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team deploy to Kuwait. Led by Pathfinders, the BCT’s advance force, the British team includes engineers, artillery, infantry, logistics and medical specialists to train the Kuwaiti troops in their particular skills.
The Pathfinders troop commander running the exercise said: “Any military operation is about troops with different capabilities coming together to achieve the same objective, and on a small scale we’ve done that here. With troops coming from across 16 Brigade, we’ve drawn on each other’s strengths and skills to create a strong team, both to train the Kuwaitis and develop the relationships between us.”
"I’m developing my own team, getting junior soldiers to deliver lessons to build their confidence and experience. They’ve all acted very professionally and put their best effort in - I’m really proud of the guys." Cpl Kimani
2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
Corporal Titus Kimani, of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, commands a section of soldiers instructing the Kuwaitis in patrolling skills.
“We’ve changed how we teach our lessons to suit the Kuwaitis,” he said. ”All of our materials have been translated to Arabic and we’ve found that teaching the officers so that they can instruct their own soldiers has the best effect.
“At the same time I’m developing my own team, getting junior soldiers to deliver lessons to build their confidence and experience. They’ve all acted very professionally and put their best effort in - I’m really proud of the guys.”
The Kuwaiti Army opened recruitment to female soldiers at the end of 2021. Private Keavy Smith, of 16 Medical Regiment, admitted to being worried about how she would be received on what is her first overseas exercise.
“Before we came out, we were told that the Kuwaitis aren't used to working with females and I was a bit nervous that I wouldn't be listened to,” the 22-year-old combat medical technician said. “But that's not happened at all - for everyone, male or female, the Kuwaitis have wanted to see that you’ve got the knowledge and credibility to teach before you’re accepted. They've been really engaged and I’ve enjoyed the experience.”
"We’ll all come away from Kuwait with a better understanding of the Middle East and what to expect from soldiers we could be working alongside, which will serve us well on future operations.” Troop Commander
The Pathfinders officer concluded: “The human dynamics of an area is important in reconnaissance - there are many examples of mission failure caused by a lack of cultural understanding. We’ll all come away from Kuwait with a better understanding of the Middle East and what to expect from soldiers we could be working alongside, which will serve us well on future operations.”
The month-long deployment is about training the Kuwaiti Land Force’s 4th Reconnaissance Battalion. It demonstrates the UK’s strong relationship with Kuwait and work to develop its military capabilities and promote stability in the Middle East.