U.S. Army Europe 'Sky Soldiers' train with multinational partners at Rapid Trident
July 18, 2013
YAVORIV, Ukraine --Paratroopers from Attack Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) trained with military forces from several other nations on small-unit tactics as part of exercise Rapid Trident 2013.
Rapid Trident 2013 is a U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational field training and command post exercise at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv that involves approximately 1,300 troops from 17 nations. The exercise is designed to enhance interoperability between forces and promote regional stability and security. The exercise began July 8 and ends July 19.
Approximately 100 Attack Company paratroopers based in Vicenza, Italy participated in a variety of situational training exercises with multinational soldiers throughout their two weeks here. Ukrainian soldiers ran the company through a traffic control checkpoint exercise July 11 that trained the paratroopers in important soldier skills while providing an opportunity for both armies to see how the other operates.
"It is important to understand how other nations work together, because they can learn different tactics and show other nations," said Attack Company commander Capt. Joshua Keatts.
The company also participated in a training exercise led by Canadian soldiers on identifying and reacting to roadside bombs, a major threat to forces operating in Afghanistan and other overseas contingency operations.
"It has been really beneficial, just with the relationship-building and letting the other nations know that we are here to help each other and train with each other," said Sgt. 1st Class Guillermo Orozco, platoon sergeant for Attack Company's 3rd platoon.
Orozco said that the training helped new paratroopers who have not deployed to combat with the brigade to understand the tactics and techniques necessary to accomplish the company's mission, and teaches younger soldiers who have deployed how to step into leadership roles and train other paratroopers.
Attack Company's 3rd platoon was selected by Rapid Trident 2013's exercise director, Ukrainian Army Maj. Gen. Vyacheslav Nazarkin, to demonstrate convoy operations for distinguished visitors to the training July 17. U.S. Army Europe's commanding general Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft and 23 other senior military and civilian officials from participating nations watched the paratroopers respond to a simulated attack, counterattack, and call in a Ukrainian helicopter to evacuate a simulated casualty.
Orozco said his platoon was selected for the demonstration because of the high level of motivation his paratroopers showed during training missions with partner nation forces. He said that no matter how they are feeling, once their helmets go on, they know it is time to train as if they were in a real combat situation.
Many of Attack Company's paratroopers here are new to the unit as well as the Army, and Keatts said the exercise has helped build relationships among his mix of veterans and new paratroopers, as well as with the multinational partners they trained with.
One of the most valuable aspects of the training the paratroopers will take back is learning how to overcome the language barriers during the planning and execution of missions, explained Orozco. He said the training and leadership roles that many paratroopers have taken on for the first time here will continue as they train other Sky Soldiers back home in Vicenza and elsewhere.
"This exercise is the glue that is building the cohesion to bring the new soldiers together," said Keatts.