HOHENFELS, Germany (Army News Service, Sept. 17, 2008) -- A quiet still encompassed the room of a remote building. Only the sound of fresh rain water falling from the roof could be heard through the calm. All of a sudden, the loud bang of a door being forced open echoed across the dwelling.

Soldiers poured into the building one by one with their weapons drawn as they searched for hostile targets. The loud pop of blank rounds being shot off reverberated across the room as Australian Soldiers took out their targets.

The military operations in urban terrain, or MOUT training, was part of "Cooperative Spirit 2008," a month-long exercise in Germany involving American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand ground forces. About 1,800 troops from the five nations in the ABCA Armies Program are participating in the exercise that began Sept. 12. It will focus on the interoperability of equipment and the exchanging of tactics.

The MOUT training by the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment at the shoothouse compound of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center did not go unnoticed by the U.S. contingent. Members of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division -- including Col. David E. Funk, the commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Alan D. Bjerke -- arrived in their signature Stryker combat vehicles during the Australians' training.

Australian Soldiers from 9 Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment received a 3rd Stryker Brigade coin from Bjerke in recognition of their outstanding performance in clearing the training building of hostile targets and for using exceptional tactics during the training operation, said Australian Army Pvt. Dean Brimmer, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.

This training mission centers on building counter-insurgency tactics and working on systems that are capable of effectively operating alongside friendly nations.

The 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment is one of the units participating in the multinational training mission at JMRC in an effort to take full advantage of the experiences of other nations as well as share their experiences with the armies of friendly nations. While at JMRC they will be doing their part to ensure all ABCA armies have the ability to train and operate effectively together in the execution of assigned missions and tasks, an idea known as interoperability.

Since World War II the armies of America, Britain, and Canada have been working together to achieve a cohesion necessary for operations around the world. Now, along with Australia and New Zealand, these countries are working side by side to ensure that the operations shared by the friendly nations have effective integration of forces.

(Spc. Warren W. Wright Jr. serves with the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)