By Capt. Kayla ChristopherNovember 6, 2017
Just this past month, a new grenade range was opened on the Yavoriv Combat Training Center, meeting yet another major milestone of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine mission.
Maj. Montana Dugger, a resident of Edmond, Oklahoma and the brigade engineer for the JMTG-U and the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, who oversaw the project from start to finish, said that the new training facility is a complete redesign and meets all NATO safety standards.
It improves the training for the rotational unit and moves Ukraine closer to overall NATO interoperability, Dugger explained.
Ukrainian army battalions rotate through the CTC in 55-day training cycles, working their way through individual soldier tasks and squad-level training all the way up to a culminating battalion-level force-on-force exercise.
Training is often in the spotlight, but direct training is just one small part of the overall JMTG-U mission. The mission actually consists of five lines of effort and each one is equally important to the long term success of the CTC.
The five main efforts are rotational unit training, operations group development, opposing force development, instrumentation, training aids, devices and simulators and simulations, commonly referred to as ITADSS, and lastly, facilities and range operations improvements.
The completion of the grenade range falls under the latter most effort.
In addition to the grenade range, Dugger has managed to completion several other significant and large-scale facilities and range operations improvements to include renovations to the rotational units' housing facility.
Dugger said the renovations have increased housing capacity to allow for 800 soldiers to live on their own walkable campus.
The campus is complete with classroom space and a dining facility in addition to new, cozier living quarters, which are designed to build morale and increase retention.
"We've installed creature comforts to help them relax such as air conditioning, heating and new showers," Dugger said. "When soldiers can relax when they're not in the field-they can rest well, take warm showers, stay out of the heat when it's hot and stay warm when it's cold-they'll train harder the next day."
Later this year, the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will return to the United States, handing over the JMTG-U mission to another unit from the New York Army National Guard.
But, even though he's leaving, Dugger says he's confident that his Ukrainian counterparts are ready to take the reins from him.
"The Ukrainian staff here at the CTC will have no issue taking over these ranges and facilities when we leave," Dugger said. "We've helped them build long-range maintenance plans so they'll be able to use these facilities for the next 20, 30-plus years."