HOHENFELS TRAINING AREA, Germany — The Troopers from 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, have been putting their cavalry and reconnaissance skills to the test at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center’s Combined Resolve VI.

Combined Resolve VI is a squadron-level decisive action rotation, May 5-25, designed to train the U.S. Army’s regionally allocated forces to the U.S. European Command.

This combat training center rotation is unique in that the focus of the exercise is a cavalry squadron.

“This is a kind of [combat training center] rotation I’ve never heard of in my 18 year career,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Mahaffey, the commander for 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment. “We have an entire CTC staff to deal with just one cavalry squadron, so we’re truly lucky to get this opportunity and I think you see that in the way our Troopers are approaching training.”

The squadron’s senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Bolyard, said the exercise is increasing the squadron’s readiness and ability to conduct reconnaissance missions, specifically with a number of junior leaders serving in duty positions higher than where they would normally serve.

“One of the largest challenges we’ve ran into is just rustiness,” said Bolyard. “A lot of junior leaders don’t have the experience conducting the [reconnaissance] operations they are right now.”

The squadron has several sergeants doing staff sergeants jobs and a staff sergeant filling in for a platoon leader, but Mahaffey doesn’t see this as a bad thing.

“It’s not necessarily a challenge as it’s a learning opportunity,” said Mahaffey. “Everything becomes a chance to learn something new about how we do things.”

Bolyard believes the opportunity presented to these junior leaders will benefit them in the long run.

“They’re getting exposed and learning firsthand versus coming up through the ranks, and it will make them better leaders when it comes down to it,” said Bolyard. “It will really benefit the Army because a lot of these Soldiers will leave here and go to other places, experiencing working at a higher level than their rank is. They’ll cross pollinate across the force with their experience here and be able to share that with their junior Soldiers.”

Staff Sgt. Matthew Quick, a senior scout for 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, said the majority of his Troopers were new to the platoon, so having the opportunity to shoot gunnery up to the platoon-level at Grafenwoehr, Germany prior to Combined Resolve helped set them up for success.

“It helped us to communicate as a platoon, picking out targets, target identification and fire commands,” said Quick.

Now Quick said they are able to take it to the next level during the situational training exercise lanes and force-on-force to focus on the reconnaissance tasks the platoon is expected to execute.

“This exercise is giving us the opportunity to actually focus in on the things that we need to improve on and find out what we’re strong at so we can conduct [after action reviews] after each mission and find out what we need to do to improve,” added Quick.

Though the exercise has presented a number of challenges for the Troopers of War Paint squadron, they continue to turn them into learning opportunities to increase the squadron’s overall readiness and ability to accomplish their reconnaissance mission.

“It’s a great training opportunity,” stated Bolyard. “I feel that you can learn more about being a scout here than you can anywhere else.”

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War Paint Squadron sharpens cavalry skills at Combined Resolve

VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Georgia — Paratroopers assigned to 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade are busy at Exercise Noble Partner 16 putting their skills to the test back in the Georgian hills at Vaziani Training Area.

The paratroopers conducted live-fire training, May 16, raining down 105mm rounds onto practice targets kilometers away but still close enough to hear the rounds impact more than 10 seconds after firing.

Each of the three firing teams consisted of a handful of paratroopers, some with more than a decade of experience, some with mere months.

Private Robert Logan is the youngest in his company and said he is ecstatic about being able to train at Noble Partner.

“I love it,” said Logan. “I joined the Army to shoot big guns, jumping out of planes and go to other countries.”

The more senior leaders on the team say that the exercise is an excellent way for junior Soldiers to develop their leadership skills, especially while training with other nations far from their own backyard.

Staff Sgt. Michael Hinton, a section chief with Battery ‘Bull,’ explains that not only are these exercises enjoyable for him personally, but it is a fantastic opportunity come and empower junior leaders and Soldiers.

“Coming out to these training areas in different location [allows us] more time to focus on training Soldiers,” Hinton said.

Exercise Noble Parter 16 also includes Soldiers from 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, soldiers from Georgia’s 4th Mechanized Brigade and soldiers from the United Kingdom’s 3d Rifles.

In addition, participation includes three C-130 “Hercules” aircraft from the 165 Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, Garden City, Ga.

Exercise Noble Partner includes approximately 500 Georgian, 150 United Kingdom and 650 U.S. service members who are incorporating a full range of equipment, including U.S. M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, M119 Light Towed Howitzers and several wheeled support vehicles.

The exercise is taking place, May 11 – 26, and includes three main portions; a situational-training exercise, a field-training exercise and a live-fire exercise.

Noble Partner 16 enhances mutual abilities between the United States, United Kingdom and Georgia to work together with other NATO nations and with key regional partners on regional security.

About Us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51-country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships built during the more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events, held in more than 40 countries each year, lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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Noble Partner 16 keeps Georgia on paratroopers’ minds

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — The Burkina Faso Prime Minister, U.S. Ambassador for Burkina Faso and Deputy Commanding General for U.S. Army Africa attended a Closing Ceremony for Western Accord 2016, May 13, at Camp Zagre.

The two-week command post exercise, which began, May 2, brought together 15 West African Nations, seven NATO European countries and the U.S. to work as a multinational headquarters to build interoperability and shared understanding.

“Let me start by saying thank you to Burkina Faso for hosting Western Accord 2016,” said Tulinabo Mushingi, U.S. Ambassador for Burkina Faso. “We, in the United States are very proud that this year’s event has been successful and has been an excellent training opportunity for everyone represented here today.”

Participants had to plan and notionally execute an African Union and United Nations peacekeeping operation in a joint, combined environment. Each military representative came with a different operational process, but everyone aligned efforts to complete their mission.

“There is no standard for success, that we all have different backgrounds and different experiences that we can capitalize from,” said Capt. Scott Saunders, U.S. Army Africa scenario manager for the accord. “We’re dealing with language barriers, many different backgrounds and not one person was going to solve it all. So, we had to get out of our comfort zones and contribute in any way we could. It took a little bit more time, but in the end I feel the consensus is what gave us strength.”

Western Accord 2016 has allowed the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to train for regionally significant real-world scenarios that currently, not only West Africa, but all its partner nations.

“This act is a testimony of your support and involvement in encouraging the armed forces of the countries involved in order to prevent conflict, preserve and maintain peace and stability in the ECOWAS area and all over the world,” said General Pingrenoma Zagre, Chief of Defense Staff for Burkina Faso Armed Forces.

While the exercise was directed at enhancing interoperability across the region, it was also beneficial for U.S. participants, as most have less experience outside a combat operational environment.

“While the U.S. does a lot of training, the Burkinabe participate in a lot more peacekeeping operations than we do,” Saunders said. “I feel I learned a lot about U.N. operations and the U.N. planning process.”

This is the first of four annual U.S. Army Africa accord series exercises scheduled this year. Next year, Saunders hopes to capitalize off what they gained during this year’s command post exercise.

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Western Accord 2016 participants closeout exercise at Camp Zagre

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — “The Army will fail in its mission if the Army Reserve isn’t ready. That’s why everything we do focuses on readiness,” said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley.

He explained that the vast majority of doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers and logisticians come from the Army Reserve and without that expertise, the Army could not function.

Talley, the 32nd chief of the Army Reserve and 7th commander of U.S. Army Reserve Command, spoke at his final media roundtable in the Pentagon. He retires next month.

After serving in his dual-hatted role for four years, Talley summed up what he thinks are the two most significant recent readiness enhancement achievements for the Reserve, created during his watch: “Plan, Prepare, Provide,” and “Public-Private Partnerships,” or P3.

PLAN, PREPARE, PROVIDE

“Plan” refers to the regional alignment of units to Army service component commands and combatant commanders, Talley said. Part of this alignment includes the forward positioning of staff organized into Army Reserve engagement cells, or ARECs and Army Reserve engagement teams, or ARETs.

ARECs support Army service component commands and field Armies. ARETs are smaller elements that help integrate Army Reserve capabilities into combatant commands and corps-level units across all warfighting functions.

The ARECs and ARETs are technical and tactical experts who provide direct staff planning support and reach-back capability on a daily basis across all warfighting functions, he explained. “They’ve been very successful and combatant commanders are very happy with them.”

“Prepare” is how the Army Reserve trains as part of the total Army Force, he said. That means if they’re receiving medical or engineering training in the private sector, it translates to readiness benefits for those same doctors and engineers when in uniform.

“Provide” is the deployment of Army Reserve Soldiers, leaders and units in support of requirements at home and abroad, he said.

In just the last four years, 62,000 reservists have deployed, he said. The Army, as well as the other services, relies on their expertise and the unique capabilities they provide, he added.

Reservists also protect the homeland from natural disasters and military threats, he said.

When people think about a natural disaster, the National Guard is usually what comes to mind, he said. But a large part of the response comes from the Army Reserve, he said.

The Reserve has an aviation component, which can be used for search and rescue, as well as other expertise that provide important on-the-scene assistance — from quartermasters and civil affairs to sustainment and full-spectrum engineering.

In sum, “our Plan, Prepare, Provide readiness model allows us to remain an operational force,” he said.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

P3 combines training and leadership development reservists get in the Army with technical training they get with their civilian employers in the private sector, be it industry, government, academia or non-profit, he said.

The idea is that their military and civilian training can benefit the bottom line of their civilian employer and the bottom line of the Army — which is readiness, he said. “We get twice the citizen, which is the Army Reserve motto.”

P3 also helps Soldiers and their families find employment or advance their careers in the private sector — about 3,000 thus far, he added.

Talley provided some examples.

The Army Reserve is partnering with financial adviser and motivational speaker Suze Orman, who is now providing Soldiers and their families financial readiness training — pro bono, he said.

Similarly, physical trainer and former actor Tony Horton volunteered his time to give fitness advice to Soldiers and their families, he added.

Cyber operators, employed by Microsoft and Google, put their expertise acquired from those companies to use in the Reserve, he said.

For instance, there was a recent Army cyber exercise at MIT Lincoln Lab in Lexington, Massachusetts, pitting the active component against the Guard and Reserve. “We kicked the stuffing out of the active component guys,” Talley said, explaining that they wrote exceptionally effective code day in and day out at their civilian jobs and are the best and the brightest.

Talley added that the Reserve has no problem recruiting and retaining these and other cyber operators because they don’t have to quit their day jobs and they enjoy the challenge and adventure of being Soldiers, as well as serving. “It’s a good news story for us.”

The Reserve has about 3,600 cyber operators and about 3,500 others who are in support of them, he added.

Besides those three examples, there are many more that could be given, since the Army has 7,000 of these P3 agreements in place — including 20 with Fortune 500 companies as well as small, but innovative start-ups, he said.

“We’re not endorsing those companies and no money or resourcing changes hands,” he said. “We’re finding projects we can do together.”

Talley added that the program has been so successful that Army Under Secretary Patrick J. Murphy wants P3 to be a business model across the entire Army and has made it a priority. The Office of the Secretary of Defense is also “paying attention and trying to mirror it,” he added.

SOME CHALLENGES

Soldiers, their families and their employers value predictability when it comes to deployments, Talley pointed out.

For the most part, the Reserve has given them that, he said.

Sometimes, however, there are unplanned but important short-notice deployments where not a lot of notice can be given. That’s something the Army Reserve continually works to avoid whenever possible, he said.

The other thing is training, he said. While training provides readiness, that has to be balanced with providing the right amount.

“The next budget that’s going forward has increased the number of training days for funding to the Army Reserve, allowing us to train longer at the National Training Center and CTCs in general,” he said, adding that nothing has yet been funded, but if the funding is available, “this will provide for additional training days for those units nearing their READY year for mobilization — not additional training days for all Army Reserve Soldiers across the board.”

Another big challenge, Talley said, is getting reservists accreditation and certifying training.

He explained that the challenge works both ways. Reserve training is often not accepted by civilian employers and civilian training is sometimes not accepted by the military.

For instance, a cyber operator might have to train for 18 months, but that operator, like those from Google or Microsoft, might already have the required expertise gained from their civilian jobs, he said.

Similar dilemmas occur for truck drivers, medical technicians and others.

The Army Reserve is in the process of fixing those problems, sometimes using its relationships with P3 organizations to do that, particularly non-profits that oversee the credentialing or accreditation process, he said.

LIFE AFTER THE RESERVE

Talley said he looks forward to doing simple things after retiring, such as getting adequate sleep, a lot of physical activity, reading books for leisure and winding down in general from the harried pace at the Pentagon. He also plans to do some vacationing with his wife Linda and some possible volunteer work.

He accepted an initial faculty fellowship at Harvard University and will go up there to do projects as a leadership fellow and a Cabot House Scholar and then when he’s finished with that near end of this year, he said he plans to retire to “warm and sunny Arizona and do a number of things.”

Looking back on his 34 years of Army service, he said he’s had some great civilian jobs and careers, “but the highlight of my professional life has been as a Soldier. It’s the thing I hold in highest esteem. Not necessarily being an officer, but serving with other Soldiers as we try to make a difference in serving a nation. If you ask anyone who served, you’ll find that a common theme.”

Also looking back, Talley said he couldn’t have done the things he’s accomplished “without having a great staff, command teams and my wife Linda. She has done so much for me and for the Army day in and day out during my 34 years in uniform.”

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Army Reserve boosting Total Army readiness

FORT RILEY, Kan. — The familiar booms of 1st Infantry Division howitzers were joined by a different sound, May 14, as “Big Red One” artillery units teamed with the Kansas Army National Guard for a weekend training mission.

Soldiers from the guard’s 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery Brigade, traveled from their home station at Hiwatha, Kansas, to Fort Riley where they worked with 1st Infantry Division Artillery and the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. Active-duty Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, were conducting their Table 18 gunnery — battalion-level certifications — as the guard crews fired their high mobility artillery rocket systems.

HIMARS aren’t commonly seen at Fort Riley as no Big Red One units use the weapons system.
Soldiers from both organizations often used the word “opportunity” to describe the benefits of the training.

“This partnership we have is very, very special,” Maj. Gen. Lee Taffanelli, Kansas adjutant general, said May 14.

Active-duty Soldiers at Fort Riley and their Kansas National Guard partners have worked alongside each other downrange for the last decade, Taffanelli said. Now Army leaders are stepping up that partnership at home when it comes to training opportunities.

That effort is coming straight from the top: Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s chief of staff. Soon after taking over as the Army’s senior leader last fall, Milley emphasized the importance of one Army — one Army made of its active duty, National Guard and Reserve components.

“When you look at the threats that we face as a nation, you look at the size of our Army, we know we have to do things together,” Taffanelli said. “Our active component, the National Guard and the Reserve — everyone has to come together to make the mission successful. So opportunities that we have like this where we can train together and really get that familiarity down and really get an understanding of each other’s capabilities, and the more we can work together just makes it a much better, ready Army.”

This Total Army Concept has trickled down to affect Soldiers’ everyday training opportunities.

On May 14, that meant three of 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment’s batteries were firing cannons on Fort Riley as a platoon HIMARS crews were nearby sending their rockets downrange.

“So what we’ll see is a combined shoot that will allow them to fire on the same target at the same time,” said Col. Thomas Bolen, DIVARTY commander. “So really when we talk about massing fires, that is a true massing of fires. Not only the full weight of 1-5′s cannon units, but the HIMARS on top of it. So two units, two components coming together to do a combined shoot, and I think it’s just a fantastic opportunity.”

DIVARTY’s master gunner sees the plusses of the combined training at his level, saying it “benefits DIVARTY just because DIVARTY is everything that’s field artillery, and being able to work with not only canon units, but canon units, rocket units, anything that is part of the field artillery community,” Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Depasquale said.

“It adds capabilities to the division, to the brigade, to shoot at … different levels and to be able to hit the deep fight of battlefield in what canon systems can’t hit,” he said of getting to work with HIMARS crews again.

It is the job of the DIVARTY’s men and women to not only help coordinate and oversee training and qualifications for the Big Red One’s artillery units, but also that of partner units like the 130th FA Bde.

Bolen and Col. John Rueger, 130th FA Bde. commander, started work on a combined training event eight months ago when both were new to their positions.

“And we got a chance to start working together and start planning from the training perspective on what events we’d like to try and work toward over the next 12-18 months,” Rueger said, “and this is a long road to where we are now and we’re seeing it come to fruition.”

The 130th FA Bde. is based out of Manhattan, Kansas, and has several battalions headquartered throughout northeast Kansas. Taffanelli said that geography makes the partnership between the brigade and division even more special.

“Having the Kansas National Guard in close proximity to the 1st Infantry Division really creates some great opportunities for our Soldiers to come out and train alongside their active component counterparts,” he said. “Today is a great demonstration of that training.”

Regardless of the high-level concepts, each participating unit was getting the opportunity to prepare its Soldiers for the types of missions they could conduct in a deployed environment. The live fire allowed Rueger’s crew to train like they would in combat, he said.

“We don’t get to do this very often in the HIMARS battalion,” Rueger said, “so it’s another opportunity for us to do that and also to be able to integrate into other organizations or other components as we would actually if we went to war. So it’s a great opportunity for us to exercise all aspects of that.”

The brigade typically gets to fire its HIMARS once a year, but Rueger expected that to change with the newly minted partnership with the 1st Inf. Div. and DIVARTY.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to integrate with an active component entity such as 1st ID and actually do a live fire,” he added, “so this is groundbreaking for us.”

Bolen said it was an exciting day.

“We’ve had a really good time not only looking forward to the execution, but just building the relationship with the 130th and the Kansas Guard over the last few months as we’ve planned this,” Bolen said. “And really we’re just looking forward to the start of what will be several live fire exercises together in the future.”

The biggest pro for the National Guard Soldiers is getting out to shoot live rounds and seeing other units training, said Capt. Michael Sprigg of the 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery Brigade.

“There’s always a lot of takeaways from that, so that’s the biggest benefit that we have just additional time to get out here in the field and train and do something that we haven’t done before.”

Units of the 130th Field Artillery Brigade will be back at Fort Riley this summer for their annual training rotation where the brigade headquarters will set up a tactical operations center in a field environment. It will allow the brigade and its battalions to “connect up all of our systems and function and train as an entire brigade together,” Rueger said, “so it’s an exciting time for us.”

Rueger said his Soldiers loved the training.

“They appreciate the opportunity,” he added. “They really appreciate all the partnerships and the ability to work with 1st Infantry Division. 1st ID has been great to work with and really have bent over backwards to help make us successful out here and so we just appreciate all the opportunity we’ve been given to do this.”

After talking with a HIMARS crew waiting to fire at the range last week, Depasquale put the partnership and opportunities they created into perspective: “We’re training today, but we might be fighting tomorrow overseas.”

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Rockets light up Fort Riley

YEONCHEON, South Korea — Less than six miles from the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea, the 30 U.S. and South Korean heavy artillery vehicles lined up, May 10, were the largest coordinated artillery fires many had seen.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, participated in a live fire exercise with Republic of Korea Army soldiers from several battalions of the 26th Mechanized Infantry Division Artillery.

In six M109A6 Paladins, U.S. Soldiers fired with ROK soldiers in 24 heavy artillery vehicles — the K55A1 155 mm self-propelled howitzer, and the K9 Thunder 155 mm self-propelled howitzer. A total of 30 “guns” occupied the firing point and simultaneously engaged targets in the St. Barbara’s impact area approximately six kilometers away.

For most Soldiers in 1-82 FA, it was the largest artillery live fire they had ever witnessed.

“It definitely caught me off guard,” said 1st Lt. Robert Kurz, Combat Observation and Lasing Team platoon leader. “I’ve never seen more than one battery (six guns) engage a target at one time. The ROK Army’s ability to mass fires is impressive.”

Both U.S. and South Korean observers called in fire missions, where all guns engaged a single target, and with all rounds within a battery impacting nearly simultaneously.

The exercise was the culmination of more than a month’s worth of planning between U.S. and South Korean Soldiers, and critically important to the U.S. artillery mission in the Korean Peninsula.

“Partnership is important, especially here in Korea, because we will be fighting as a multinational coalition,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Hayes, commander, 1-82 FA. “It’s important to rehearse on multiple levels so we understand how we will fight.”

For the Korean artillerymen involved in the exercise, the exercise reinforces joint fires and the ability of U.S. and ROK forces to “Fight Tonight.”

“By having an exercise together with U.S. Army, not only can we reduce trial-and-errors, but also we can react to the situation promptly during war-time combined operations,” said Lt. Col. Jong Hwa Jung, commander of the 228th Field Artillery Battalion.

It was the second major exercise with U.S. counterparts, and they plan to continue the joint exercises — they partnered with 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division last year.

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US, South Korean artillery coordinate fires near DMZ

PABRADE, Lithuania — More than 1200 Soldiers from Canada, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the United States participated in Exercise Hunter, May 9-19, at General Silvestras Zukauskas Training Area in Pabrade, Lithuania.

The exercise allowed commanders the opportunity to integrate allied troops into their units to complete joint tasks and various defensive operations. While integrated, allied Soldiers were able to learn each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures.

Throughout Exercise Hunter, the allies trained on anti-tank platforms to include the Javelin, Spike and Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapons.

Lt. Col. Marc-Ulrich Cropp, commander of the German Army’s 291st Infantry Battalion, said the training was beneficial because of Lithuania’s terrain and the opportunity to train with allied troops.

“The great benefit for our unit here in Lithuania is being able to train in perfect terrain with multinational forces,” said Cropp. “Interoperability will be at a high level after this exercise.”

Cropp said he considered the support that his unit received from its Lithuanian hosts and allied commanders a highlight during Exercise Hunter. No matter the location in Lithuania, Cropp said his unit received the support necessary to perform its duties.

“Our time in Lithuania has been really great for us,” said Cropp. “We received all the support that we needed to conduct training, whether here in Pabrade, or in Rukla. The support by the commanders has been great.”

For many of the Soldiers involved, Exercise Hunter provided the opportunity to work alongside, and learn the capabilities of allied forces. Sgt. Tyler Berry, an infantryman with Ghost Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, said that it was fun learning/watching the capabilities and effectiveness of his allied counterparts.

“Every country has its own way of operating during operations like this,” said Berry. “It was nice to see how they implemented their weapons into the scenario, which allowed us to maneuver freely.”

Berry said watching the Latvian Land Force Soldiers use the Carl Gustaf anti-tank missile was his favorite moment throughout the training. He said he was impressed by the weapon’s abilities.

“The Carl Gustaf was very, very effective,” said Berry.

Overall, the Soldiers and leadership involved felt the opportunity to train with their allies was important for present and future relations.

“I enjoyed working with Soldiers from different countries more than anything else during this operation,” said Pvt. Peter Kleins, a gunner with the Latvian Land Force. “It’s important that we all know how each other operates, so that if the times comes, we are ready to help each other.”

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Allies test anti-tank capabilities in Lithuania

VAZIANI, Georgia — Soldiers assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment gathered the morning of May 13 to train on medical evacuations, cordon tactics and room clearing as part of Exercise Noble Partner.

Exercise Noble Partner 16 is a Georgian and U.S. military training exercise taking place at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, May 11 to 26, 2016. This exercise is a critical part of Georgia’s training for its contribution of a light infantry company to the NATO Response Force (NRF) and enhances Georgian territorial self-defense capability.

The training was the first of Noble Partner 16 as the previous day had been designated to building personal relationships between the U.S., United Kingdom and Georgian soldiers before the two-week training events began.

Room clearing training, also formally called basic quarters marksmanship, was lead by soldiers assigned to the U.K.’s 3d Rifles. The instructors spent approximately an hour going over various tactics for how to enter and clear a room depending a few of the many different situations soldiers may face in real combat. A team of U.K. soldiers demonstrated how their country optimally works together to enter, clear and control a room and offered ways both count interchange tactics.

Soldiers assigned to Company A additionally learned about Georgian medical evacuations procedures, specifically how to move and load casualties into a Georgian helicopter as well as the technical specs of the aircraft.

A Georgian pilot first demonstrated how to effectively and quickly load a casualty onto the aircraft, which is able to hold five total stretchers when modified. After, the 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers took turn demonstrating the training.

Wrapping up the morning, cordon perimeter procedures were also a training task. This included checking surrounding areas for threats while dismounting transportation, especially within five and 25 meters.

Not only are the training events at Noble Partner a way to build battlefield interoperability between the forces from the U.S., U.K. and Georgian armies, they are an essential part of the Georgian’s NATO Response Force recertification process.

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Noble Partner begins with basic training tactics

PAPA AIR BASE, Hungary — Three countries practiced working together during Exercise Anakonda Response 2016, a joint-service, multinational exercise that included military and government civilians from Hungary, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The goal of the exercise was twofold: test and evaluate the 7th Mission Support Command’s military’s effectiveness in a multinational humanitarian relief effort and build real-world bonds with fellow NATO-country militaries.

“Our goal coming into this was to train the staff and have them gain an understanding of foreign humanitarian assistance and disaster response; and I think we went a long way to accomplishing that,” said Lt. Col. Lance Oliver, 7th MSC chief of plans. “Another mission goal was building relationships. And I think that was the biggest take away from this, not only with our host nation, but with all the participants in the exercise.”

For the roughly two-week long event, the U.S. organized a full assembly of military representation: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Army Reserve, Army National Guard and Air National Guard. Also, the Hungarian military hosted the United Kingdom’s Royal Army and Corps of Royal Marines.

The array of military constituents worked with previously-unfamiliar comrades toward achieving a common goal. By doing so, bonds were built. Upon the exercise’s end, leaders from all three countries viewed the scenario as an overwhelming success.

“I think the exercise has reached its aim, because the aim was to see and to work out how we can work together efficiently, and this has never happened before between the [Hungarian and U.S] forces,” said Col. Csaba Szarka, the Hungarian officer in charge. “And it was not only to incorporate the military forces, but also with the civilian parts as well. And our forces received the necessary training to be better prepared for the next scenario, hopefully. “

Hungary not only served as the host, but was also the nation upon which the scenarios were based.

In 2010, the retaining wall of a caustic waste reservoir in the country collapsed. Releasing more than 38 million cubic feet of highly-alkaline red sludge, the toxic material flooded several villages, killed 10 people and injured more than 120 with chemical burns.

Exercise planners used these factual events to fashion some notional incidences, while also incorporating fictional content to maintain training currency.

Created to be challenging, participants were clearly tested by the experience. Many stated that the scenarios, and real-world trials, served to assemble a more skillful total-force military.

“It’s the connectivity; the common thread. It’s the people who make this work,” said Color Sergeant John Dixon of the No. 3. Column, 77th Brigade, Dennison Barracks, Royal Marines, United Kingdom. “The people coming together with a common goal, a common understanding to take this forward; and with that, strengths are built. This experience is going to prove mutually beneficial across the whole of the sphere.

“When I see what’s going on during this exercise, it tells me that people are talking to each other. When that happens, so can progress toward a mutually beneficial goal.”

With the success of this year’s exercise, the planning for next year has already begun.

“I hope that we can continue to develop the relationships that we had to establish to do this,” said Oliver. “And that’s where we’re at. We’re looking forward to maintaining the relationships, so we get the participation again next year and continuing to work with our Hungarian allies–we have to maintain momentum.”

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Multinational disaster exercise on Hungarian air base builds relationships

VAZIANI, Georgia — Exercise Noble Partner 16 kicked off, May 11, beginning the 14-day training featuring Soldiers assigned to 3rd Infantry Division, paratroopers assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Georgian Soldiers assigned to 4th Armor Brigade and Soldiers from the United Kingdom 3d Rifles.

“We are happy to host you in Georgia and to be part of the noble partnership,” said Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili at the opening ceremony. “You are standing on the land which was protected by my ancestors for centuries. You are standing together with men and women from the Georgian Army who are defending our staple, our nation, on battlefields across the world.”

Exercise Noble Partner includes approximately 500 Georgian, 150 British and 650 U.S. service members who are incorporating a full range of equipment, including U.S. M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, M119 Light Towed Howitzers and several wheeled support vehicles.

Alongside U.S. forces, Georgian forces will operate their T-72 Main Battle Tanks, BMP-2 Infantry Combat Vehicles and several wheeled-support vehicles.

The exercise emphasizes U.S. Army Europe’s abilities to quickly move soldiers and equipment throughout Europe and operate together within a coalition in any potential future operation.

Because of the unique forward location of U.S. Army Europe, over time the organization has built many strong relationships, including the relationship with its Georgian partners.

“Every time we get to work with our Georgian brothers and sisters it is a great opportunity,” said Col. Jeff Dickerson, the deputy exercise director for Noble Partner 16. “As you saw today, we work together very well. This is an example of what we are going to do over the next two weeks at Noble Partner 16. We will accomplish a lot and we are looking forward to truly demonstrating interoperability between our forces and we are looking forward to continue to improve the readiness of our organizations.”

One of the Georgian companies participating in Noble Partner is part of the NATO Response Force, a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and special operations components. The future two-week training event is a critical part of Georgia’s training for its contribution of a light infantry company to the NATO Response Force and enhances Georgian territorial self-defense capability.

“One of the overarching goals of the NATO Response Force is to ensure the ability of a rapid military force to respond quickly wherever needed whenever a security crisis emerges,” said Nicholas Berliner, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Georgia. “This exercise helps to achieve that important mission.”

While Georgia is not a member of NATO, it and other NATO partners voluntarily contribute to the NRF. Exercise Noble Partner provides an opportunity for the United States to continue its training relationship with the Georgian armed forces as the sponsor of Georgia’s participation in the NRF.

The ceremony proceeded in traditional military fashion with speeches from high-ranking military and government officials, national anthems of each country and a static displays of U.S. and Georgian combat vehicles and weapons behind the formation.

Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade put the final touches on the ceremony while jumping from a U.S. Air Force aircraft onto the drop zone where less than 300 meters away, guests watched closely.

As the ceremony closed, guests were welcomed to take photos with the Soldiers and look at the
equipment on display.

Included in the audience were hundreds of students from local universities. After the ceremony finished, they were able to meet and speak with the participants and even take a few selfies in front of the tanks and equipment.

Participating U.S. forces are members of U.S. Army Europe; elements of the U.S.-based regionally allocated force, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division; contributions to NATO
Response Force 2016; and the Georgia State Army and Air National Guards.

In addition, participation includes three C-130 “Hercules” aircraft from the 165 Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard. Exercise Noble Partner will consist of a situational training exercise, a field training exercise and a live-fire exercise.

Over the training course, participants will take part in situational training exercises, a field training exercise and a final live-fire exercise.

About Us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51-country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships built during the more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events, held in more than 40 countries each year, lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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US, UK, Georgian soldiers cultivate capabilities in Exercise Noble Partner

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