200 British army and Royal Marine officers are currently in northeast Kansas, training and building relationships with American officers.
“It’s all about developing skills, knowledge, attributes and motivation for the troops,” said Maj. Jo Bell, spokeswoman for the British Defense Academy traveling with the officers. “It’s all about building up their confidence.”
Lt. Col. Ian Williams, head of the British staff directing the officers, said coming to Kansas gives officers a perspective on U.S. culture unlike experiences in metropolitan areas.
“A big city is a big city. But here you get a sense of what the people are like,” Williams said. “Having served with the U.S. in a number of operations before, I haven’t really had the insight into how they really live their lives, because I’ve been blinded by New York, that that’s America.”
Maj. Alan Alford, a member of the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, said the officers also were struck by the patriotism displayed by Kansans, from flying flags to “support the troops” magnets on pickup trucks.”We just don’t do that in the U.K.,” he said.