An enduring bond: NCO reinforces partnership with first-time Czech Republic competitors

Photo By Sgt. Michael Giles | Czech Army Staff Sgt. Jakub Domeny receives a briefing with service members from the Texas Air and National Guard, as well as soldiers from Chile and the Czech Republic at the M4 qualification event as part of the fifth annual Texas Military Department Best Warrior Competition, at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas, March 3, 2017. This year's Best Warrior Competition was the second time Chilean soldiers participated and the first time for soldiers from the Czech Republic as part of Texas Military Department's initiative to develop relations with foreign partners. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Michael Giles) 
Story by: 1st Lt. Allegra Boutch
100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment


BASTROP, Texas — The Texas Military Department enjoys a valuable and enduring relationship with Chile and the Czech Republic. The State Partnership Program, or SPP, facilitates frequent, constructive engagement with foreign armies. 
The foreign soldiers who participate in SPP exchanges carry the responsibility of bringing lessons learned from these events with them back home. They also represent their respective countries, building a reputation wherever they go.
Staff Sgt. Jakub Domeny with the 41st Mechanized Battalion, 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, understands this immense pressure. The Czech soldier, who decided to become a soldier after watching “Saving Private Ryan,” felt nervous as he prepared to compete alongside Texan and Chilean soldiers in the fifth annual TMD Best Warrior Competition at Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas. 
”I am here for the first time,” said Domeny. “I am here to compete, but my main goal is to get experience from here and then get it to Czech Republic so we can have our own competition and continue sending our soldiers here.” 
The TMD Best Warrior Competition brings together exemplary Soldiers across Texas to test their skills in board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams and warfare simulations. 
Domeny trained during every spare moment before tests began. “This is people say the best Army in the world,” he said. “I thought that I was going to be average, but after being here for a week, I feel pretty relaxed.”
The greatest responsibility however may fall with the American service members assigned to each foreign soldier. Staff Sgt. Kevin Hannah,136th Maintenance Squadron, Airlift Wing, also sought to leave a good impression with his assigned soldiers.
“The main thing we are trying to do with the soldiers is take care of them,” said Hannah. “For any NCO, taking care of each other is the ultimate. So for the Czech soldiers, I can show how the American military takes care of our people by taking care of them. Hopefully they will go back to the Czech Republic and take those interactions with them.”
Hannah told his Czech counterparts jokes to help calm their nerves. Domeny then passed his board interview and went on to score a 29 of 40 on his marksmanship test. According to Domeny, Hannah’s efforts made him confident that he can return home and be a positive influence to his soldiers as well. 
“A good soldier is the results you have in the field, but it is also your behavior, your attitude and how you help,” Domeny said. “A good soldier will do the maximum they can do to serve.” 
After the competition, Domeny plans to return home and share the administrative and organizational techniques that made the Best Warrior run, in his words, flawlessly.