By Staff Sgt. Andrew Guffey, 343rd Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentNovember 21, 2013
HOHENFELS, Germany (Nov. 21, 2013) -- In a city filled with merchants and pedestrians, there was a potential threat from insurgents -- enemies armed with improvised explosive devices. This was the case when U.S. and Serbian Soldiers entered a mock village at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, as a team, their mission to thwart the enemy.
In Europe, the Joint Multinational Readiness Center regularly trains NATO, multinational allies and partners. During this training the Serbian military sent a platoon, which is about 24 Soldiers, to Combined Resolve, a military training exercise with U.S. forces and those of eight European nations. The exercise is scheduled to run from Nov. 7 to Nov. 27.
"They'll be a little more self-sufficient, and have a better understanding of what it takes in preparation for war," said Sgt. 1st Class Todd Christensen, an observer, coach and trainer, often referred to as OCT, with the Ohio Army National Guard. A partnership between the U.S.-based Guard unit and the Serbian Army allows the Soldiers to exchange knowledge, tactics and develop a cultural understanding.
The OCTs observe how units negotiate obstacles and react to situations that may happen on the battlefield. The OCTs review unit performance and adjust the training to meet unit goals. The Serbian Soldiers are learning to conduct their own training and assess their Soldiers.
"As we've seen some of their tactics, they are actually using some of our lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan to change their doctrine," said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Manicsic, also of the Ohio Army National Guard. "This mission has really helped us develop a friendship with them, essentially, while learning how they operate."
The training allows the Serbians to learn how we operate, so if we ever deploy together, we already have that strong bond, Manicsic said.
Christensen and Manicsic won't deploy with the Serbians, but they said the knowledge gained because of the train-the-trainer experience helps both militaries feel more confident about working together during future missions.