More than 200 years ago, America declared its independence from Britain, but the many years have brought the English-speaking cousin countries back together as comrades in arms. In 2013 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets at the Leader Development and Assessment Course get to witness this camaraderie firsthand with 20 British Cadets training alongside them.
Through a program between the U.S. Army and the U.K. army, Cadets from various universities received the opportunity to come to America and see how their country’s ally trains its leaders.
Cadet Lottie Hollins, Bravo Co., 12th Regiment, from Oxford, U.K., and Newcastle University, said she jumped at the chance to train here. So far, she has observed that America’s military takes great care to mold its leaders.
“I think LDAC, the way it’s marked, it’s not a tactical focus…it’s very personally focused,” said Hollins.
Although the training environment is stricter than what she is accustomed to, Hollins said there is one casual element they don’t have across the pond: cadences.
“The first day when people started singing, I was like, ‘What’re we doing?'” she said. “I started laughing.”
Some of the training details differ–such as the acronyms–but Hollins said the general principles of combat are the same for both countries. Training at LDAC has given her a preview of what she will have to do in the future as a second lieutenant (or, as our British counterparts pronounce it, “leftenant”).
“I think the perfect leader has to be adaptable to the situation they’re dropped into,” said Hollins.
For Cadet Thomas Barker, Bravo Co., 12th Regiment, from Yorkshire, U.K., and Northumbria University, said he has softened his accent “to be understood,” but that “everyone’s been excellent” with the British Cadets. LDAC training has been more similar to Barker’s own experiences than he’d expected. His most important task is to learn how Americans work so he can fight cohesively with them in the future.
“If you’re working with someone and have no idea how they do (something), you’re going to cross wires and it’s going to be a problem,” he said.
The British Cadets were not the only ones who had to get used to culture differences.
Cadet Denise Yanez, Bravo Co., 12th Regiment, from McAllen, Texas, and Washington University in Saint Louis, has become close with Hollins and said some of the British slang has confused her. Even with the differences, Yanez said the Brits’ presence has been great.
“I’m definitely glad that (Hollins) was here,” said Yanez. “I feel that the dynamic of the platoon would not have been the same without her.”
Just as the American Cadets feel they have learned from the British Cadets, Hollins said she has experienced a small-scale experience in foreign relations.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot just about the American way,” she said. “On a personal basis, I’ve made some amazing friends here.”
Story by Monica Spees.