Ensign (2nd Lt.) Kaido Sipelgas, an officer from the Estonian Army, will be observing Cadet Summer Training (CST) as part of the military reserve exchange program at Fort Knox.
The military reserve exchange program allows units in the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies to swap Soldiers in order to get a first-hand experience on how each country trains its soldiers. Those participating in the program will implement the lessons learned into the training programs of their host nations.
“It has been really nice here. I have done a lot of interesting things,”said Sipelgas. “I am here to see the methods of teaching here and how the young Cadets learn. My main mission is to see and to learn. Training is effective in most ways, but I believe there is always room for improvement.”
Staff. Sgt. Joseph Butcher, Fort Knox, is the sponsor for Sipelgas and hosts his visit in the United States.
“I was selected to be his sponsor and I will be the person that shadows him when I go to Estonia. I feel like this program is a great benefit to the U.S. Army and our NATO allies. It helps build relationships between our countries and helps to build better training scenarios and lessons so that we can learn from each other,” Butcher said.
Sipelgas was able to train on the rappel tower alongside Advanced Camp (CLC) Cadets on July 23.
“It seems to be a really good way to overcome your fear of heights and to be more confident about yourself and your comrades.” Sipelgas said, “I am going to try it, I remember my childhood fear of heights, so it will take a little thought from my side, but I’ll do it.”
Upon completion of his time at Fort Knox, Sipelgas will meet with other Soldiers from Estonia and discuss what they have learned and experienced.
“I have seen these kinds of exercises and training and been through it back home. We have less equipment so we do it in a more improvised way in Estonia,” Sipelgas said.
“We will discuss our different experiences and be using them at the Estonian Defense Lech School where we are developing our methods of teaching.”