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Prep course prepares foreign officers for MCCC

International officers taking the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning will now get a boost on Army lingo and procedures before heading to class.

The four-week MCCC prep course will introduce international students to concepts they will be involved with while attending the career course, MAJ Darren Fowler said.

MAJ Fowler, an instructor from Fort Knox, Ky., said the prep course was offered to international students attending Fort Knox’s MCCC and is now being offered here. The first class started Monday.

Though Soldiers are teaching the first course, a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based contractor, TechWise, will take over in November, said LTC Frank Lumm, who is retiring and will become the prep course’s lead instructor when the contract begins.

“We’re taking a month to bring the international students up to speed so when they train with American officers they will be at the level they should be coming in this gets them into our lingo and gives them an opportunity to learn,” he said, citing most of the students have attended their country’s basic officer courses and are serving as either operations officers or company commanders.

The first week is intensive, with a lot of reading and an introduction to operational terms and map graphics. Students learn about U.S. maneuver organizations and their capabilities, company-level troop leading procedures, the military decision-making process and how to write operations orders, MAJ Fowler said.

“This puts them on a level playing field,” he said, adding that for many of the students, this is their first trip to the U.S.

Twenty-one students are currently enrolled and hail from 17 different countries.

1st Lt. Jure Himelrajh, of the Slovenian army, has been to Fort Benning before. He graduated from Ranger School in 2007. Prior to that, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The lieutenant, a veteran of operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, said the career course will help him with the differences in U.S. and Slovenian doctrine and better prepare him to lead a company when he returns to his country.

“The Slovenian army is very small — Slovenia itself is the size of New Jersey — and it’s been independent for about 20 years now so the doctrine is still being developed,” he said. “There is basic doctrine but it’s not nearly as broad as it is here. For example, there are hundreds of field manuals here but at home there are only a few, so we try to translate or use U.S. field manuals whenever there is a gap in Slovenian doctrine.”

Capt. Ahmed Al Rahbi, an instructor for Oman’s military academy and a graduate of Britain’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, said attending the career course will help him to become a more well-rounded instructor to future officers.

Maj. Mohammad Saifurrahman, a company commander with the Bangladesh army and a veteran of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said his purpose in attending was to learn from the world’s best army.

“I want to apply what I learn to our society, to better educate our troops, he said.