JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Approximately 56 foreign and joint military officers from 52 foreign naval services from around the world visited Joint Base Charleston Nov. 13, 2018, to learn about the mission and capabilities of Air Mobility Command as well as JB Charleston’s role as the gateway to the Atlantic.
This is the first time international students from the Naval Command College’s Arleigh Burke Fellowship have visited JB Charleston. The program is one of several at the NCC, which is part of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. It is the Navy’s flagship senior developmental education program, focusing on educating and developing future leaders by building strategic and cultural perspective—as well as trust, confidence and cooperation—between American and international officers.
“Part of the program focuses not only on teaching these officers American defense, but also integrating them into American culture by traveling all over the U.S.,” said U.S. Lt. Col. Chris Stephens, Naval War College student. “This visit gave our foreign nation partners an opportunity to see firsthand how U.S. Transportation Command connects all the way down to the tactical level. It was also great to get a feel for what the mission is like for an airlift unit in the U.S.”
For some students, seeing the large amount of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and mobility assets was a high point of the trip.
“Coming from a small country, it’s amazing to see the mammoth capabilities the U.S. Air Force has in terms of size, infrastructure and abilities,” said Capt. Joseph Rohan, a Sri Lankan naval officer. “I can see how they’re truly able to make a global reach because that is something very few countries can accomplish.”
Although the majority of the class are naval officers, Rohan expressed the importance of understanding air operations.
“As naval planners, especially at the operational level, we do need to understand the unique characteristics air mobility brings into future operations,” said Rohan. “Contingency operations are not one-dimensional, so gaining insight into the air and land components helps us consider that for future planning. Also, we get to take back to our home countries some of the training we’ve learned and the unique and positive impact that comes with working with U.S. forces.”
In addition to learning about air and naval operations, students visited the U.S. Army’s 841st Transportation Battalion and learned about their role and mission of deploying and conducting surface deployment, redeployment distribution and water terminal operations to support and sustain the warfighter.
Stephens, who coordinated the visit, emphasized the value of working and building key relationships with partner nations.
“We should never do something unilaterally. We should always be engaging partners and it should be in the best interest of a group rather than a single entity,” he said. “That’s exactly what this program does. It’s designed to create relationships and bonds with senior leaders and their respective navies across the world.”