Fort Riley, Kansas



Foreign journalists get look at training at Fort Riley

By SPC Shaina Howard | 1st Infantry Division | May 04, 2007

Journalists from 22 foreign media outlets got a first-hand look Jan. 23-25 at what Fort Riley is doing to help support the Global War on Terrorism.

During their visit, which was organized by the Army and the State Department Foreign Press Center, journalists got to see transition team training, interview Soldiers from the Combat Aviation Brigade, learn a bit about Fort Rileys history and see the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deployment ceremony.

The tour was set up as part of the State Departments public diplomacy efforts to inform international media about U.S. policies.

While participating in TT training, journalists received full-Army treatment, which included attending briefings, wearing Kevlar helmets and flak vests, dining on Meals Ready to Eat, and trying out some of the simulators themselves.

The journalists first event at Fort Riley took them through a mock Iraqi village where they followed Soldiers during a teach-and-advise mission for transition team members.

Walking through the snow with all this gear on was much harder than I thought it would be, said Jan Tromp, a reporter with The Volksrant of the Netherlands. I dont know how (the Soldiers) can complete a mission with all their gear on in this weather.

Lt. Col. Mike ONeill, 1st Brigade deputy commanding officer, gave the journalists a briefing on what transition teams go through during their training at Fort Riley.

We try to give the (Soldiers) training that will be as close to the real thing as possible. We want them to see everything here first before they get in country, ONeill said.

At the Humvee rollover simulator, journalists were invited to take a roll.

Being able to go through the rollover simulator gives me a whole new look on how U.S. forces are trained, said Karin Assmann, a reporter from Germany. It looked easy when they did (it). I just couldnt get the door open.

This training is real. The trainers here at Fort Riley really know what they are training. They know what to look for in Iraq, said Nasser Hssaini, a reporter for Al-Jazeera television.

Journalists also got tours of the language lab and the improvised explosive device static display. Along with talking to TT Soldiers and trainers, they also spent time talking with Maj. Gen. Carter Ham, commanding general, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley.

Besides witnessing training, journalists got a look at Fort Rileys history when they received a guided tour of the Cavalry Museum and spoke with retired 1st Sgt. Albert Curley. Curley, a Junction City resident and the areas only remaining Buffalo Soldier spoke to the group about his enlistment in 1940 and his 28-year career as a Soldier in the 9th (Horse) Cavalry.

When I joined the Army, blacks could only enlist at Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth, Curley said about his experience. Fort Leavenworths quotas were filled, so I came here.

From the Cavalry Museum the group headed to the Commanding Generals Mounted Color Guard stables where they learned the history of the CGMCG, received a stable tour and rode around Main Post in the mule wagon.

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