Fort Hood: British troops take over

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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) Thousands of troops from the United Kingdom are passing through Fort Hood for training with U.S. forces that is expected to benefit operations around the world.


The alliance between the U.S. and British forces that dates back to World War I continues today with a number of modern upgrades to streamline the process of working together.

But even with today's technology, there's nothing like a face to face collaboration, so UK troops have come across the ocean to put the partnership to the test.

“We bring our kit and capability, but we really are so similar as nations and even more so as forces military forces,” says Maj. Tom Brown, 3rd UK divisional spokesperson.

Many of the British troops are already here, setting up shop on base as a total of 4,000 troops will rotate through Fort Hood through the beginning of May.

"We've got a very small team here of 32 personnel, so to get everything up and running has been a 24/7 job," says Administration Sgt. Wayne Fell of the Real Life Support Team.

Their job includes support and security and also feeding more than 600 visiting soldiers four times a day.

Other teams are setting up practice scenarios and learning the best ways to work with American troops on battlefields.

"Be that communications, working on the ground, how we talk to each other, written work- all the technological skills we have," adds Brown.

They are skills U.S. and UK forces have used together overseas, in Operation Desert Storm and more recently during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Inherent Resolve.

Stateside, they're working out the kinks.

“It's always a different hurdle each day we need to overcome, but that's a great learning tool so just that opportunity has been really good for us,” says Capt. Harriet Doyle.

But visiting troops also have their own local expert to guide them.

"A lot of translation goes on- common language but some differences," says Brig. Gen. Matthew Van Wagenen.

He moved to the United Kingdom less than a year ago and is back to help the troops practice warfare communications.

"We've got to be able to talk digitally- voice communications- all that is being done here to a very large success,” says Van Wagenen.
“That interoperability piece is the key to war fighting and will be the key in the future."

But it's not all war and no play. The brits have been able to venture out to Austin, Houston and San Antonio during their stay.

“We went out and obviously tried some barbecue food,” says Doyle. “Had lots of Texas roadhouse food as well!”

They will return home with lessons to help train their fellow soldiers that will also prepare them for future operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Through this experience, both Americans and British are learning that slightly different accents and slightly different uniforms can make for stronger allies in whatever fight the world may bring.