Training surge in Europe
Soldiers of Company C, 3-4 Infantry Battalion, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team defend the perimeter of a replicated Combat Outpost, or COP, on the Grafenwoehr Training Area, July 28. The new, 360-degree COP live-fire training facility is the first of its kind in the Army, and is one of many training areas Europe-based Soldiers will use this summer to prepare for Afghanistan.

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (Aug. 3, 2010) - August marks the beginning of a three-month surge in training at the Joint Multinational Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area and Hohenfels Training Area in eastern Bavaria.

The training includes tactics for Counter-Improvised Explosive Device, International Security Assistance Force training, and full-spectrum operations, as well as small-arms qualifications, vehicle gunnery, and live-fire exercises.

Rotational exercises are scheduled to bring the 170th Infantry Heavy Brigade Combat Team, the 15th and 54th Engineer Battalions, and soldiers of multiple NATO countries to the training areas, which will prepare them for missions in Afghanistan.

"The training in August is a surge because of the confluence of small exercises that came together to create a larger exercise," said Maj. Kevin Broadnax, G3 (Training) plans officer, at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany. "We are using all of the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas to support the training."

Hohenfels Training Area is the home of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center. During a typical training scenario a brigade headquarters is at Hohenfels, or HTA, long-known as the Army's premier maneuver training site in Europe.

Units train at HTA, while subordinate units are dispersed throughout Grafenwoehr Training Area, or GTA, well-known for its vast live-fire capabilities, or various other training areas in the region.

"Instrumentation towers at Grafenwoehr allow Soldiers to operate over much larger areas, replicating closer-to-reality distances for commanders and their staffs," said Dan Hoeh, director of instrumentation, training analysis, computer simulations and support at JMRC. "The hardware and antennas at Grafenwoehr are integrated into the JMRC, and provide the commander of the Operations Group and his senior trainers situational awareness of the two separate training areas."

Soldiers move from one training area to the other, and are monitored at all times. The infrastructure allows the operations group to collect more training-feedback, data, execute better command and control, and provide better feedback to the training unit commanders and Soldiers, said Hoeh.

"The training prepares the units for deployment. We've requested observer/controller augmentation and enabler support from other units in U.S. Army Europe to execute the rotation," Broadnax said. "We have multinational forces either training with U.S Soldiers, or supporting the rotational training units."

Soldiers from the Republic of Georgia are participating in a mission-rehearsal exercise this month. Likewise, during OMLT XVI, NATO is planning for training with U.S., French, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, Spanish, Slovakian, Slovenian, Finnish, Polish, British, German, & Afghan participation.

Currently, on-going mission support to the International Security Assistance Force involves Soldiers from about 44 different troop-contributing nations, known as TCNs. The JMTC provides training to 39 of 44 TCNs.

The multinational participation replicates the current operating environment in Afghanistan.

"NATO sends their Soldiers here to train. It's a readiness exercise," said Capt. Ron Gevry. "They don't have a dedicated opposing force, instrumentation and training aids to improve their capacity, and they get immediate-feedback on their staff processes."

Page last updated Tue August 3rd, 2010 at 09:27