By 1st. Lt. Dennis S. Whitt Jr.March 26, 2014
Hohenfels, GERMANY -- The Bavarian Alps provided the ideal location for a Mission Readiness Exercise (MRE) that is preparing the U.S. Army's 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) for deployment to Afghanistan.
Inside the German Army's Reiteralpe Training Area, summiting at over 2,200 meters above sea level, the 12th CAB practiced Air-to-Ground operations in tandem with elements of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne).
"This is a perfect way to challenge the unit's abilities with factors including high-altitude, weather conditions and the specialized Opposing Force of U.S. and German Soldiers," said Lt. Col. John Knightstep, Senior Aviation Trainer for the Falcon Observer/Coach-Trainer Team, headquartered at the Hohenfels Training Area (HTA).
With accurate representation of combat conditions being a hallmark of training under the Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC), headquartered at Grafenwoehr Training Area (GTA), a small detachment from HTA's Opposition Forces (OPFOR) has demonstrated the exportability of training by linking in with elements from the Bundeswehr's Gebirgsjägerbataillon 232, located in Bischofswiesen, Bavaria, in order to provide the realism of a trained and efficient enemy force.
"The Bundeswehr's training area brings a completely different terrain dimension to the operation and presents significant challenges to the rotational training unit," said Dr. Ernest Roth, Maneuver Coordination officer for JMTC, who liaisons with the host nation of Germany to provide training outside the designated boundaries of both GTA and HTA.
"The actual experience of going up against a group of OPFOR Soldiers comprised of U.S. and German Soldiers has been the highlight of this training for me," said Spc. Roger Saldana, currently serving in Bravo Troop, 1-9/1 CAV, 173rd Airborne, who took part in the Air Assault on Reiteralpe.
This was also an opportunity to train advancing leaders from the Gebirgsjägerbataillon 232.
"This is an important event for our unit because we not only get to train with our U.S. partners, but are giving extra leadership experience to our Non-Commissioned Officers will soon be attending their leadership academy," stated Oberleutnant Jens Kinder, liaison officer for Gebirgsjägerbataillon 232.
As emphasis on theater security cooperation becomes a bigger highlight for USAREUR forces, joint training between U.S. military forces and their partner nations is the pathway for the future.
The Joint Multinational Readiness Center is the U.S. Army's only overseas Combat Training Center. It is part of the Joint Multinational Training Command and trains more than 60,000 soldiers (U.S. and allied) annually.