By Cpl. Jeff Shackelford, 343rd Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentNovember 21, 2013
HOHENFELS, GERMANY -- This week, the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), stationed at Vicenza, Italy, and eight NATO partners train together during Combined Resolve 2013 at the Hohenfels Training Area, also known as HTA, in Hohenfels, Germany. While training together, units develop cultural understanding and test systems, tactics and techniques.
"I've never seen a rotation like this," said the 173rd's training noncommissioned officer Sgt. Maj. Steven Campbell. "This is a huge deal, since our army is shrinking. We are going to rely heavily on these joint ventures to fight wars or come together for peacekeeping missions."
Because HTA is centrally located in Europe, the Vicenza based-173rd can train with European partners on challenging ranges, testing tactical proficiency and warrior tasks.
"It's a great resource for us, coming up from Vicenza. We don't have a training area like this," said 2nd Lt. Patrick F. Coe, a platoon leader for the 173rd. "It's a first time for me. They operate a little different and I'm interested to see how this all plays out."
It's the way of the future, he said.
"I have seen a lot of growth here, especially in my younger Soldiers," said Coe. "For some guys, this is the first real training they've seen since basic training."
Using lessons learned from more than 10 years of war, commander's guidance and training objectives, the ranges and facilities are tailored to train the unit, while exploiting weaknesses in a safe, controlled environment.
"We need to know their capabilities and they need to know ours", said Campbell. "We need to communicate with them on the battlefield so there isn't any fratricide between the two nations.
The training at the HTA regularly includes U.S. and multinational forces. It incorporates ground, air, artillery and mechanized operations and maneuvers.
"My guys are going to leave here better Soldiers," said Campbell