HOHENFELS, Germany (May 29, 2014) -- Georgia, situated just south of Russia in the Caucasus region of Eastern Europe, has taken on a unique role in Combined Resolve II. For the first time, a Georgian commander is leading a battalion of multinational forces during a combat training center rotation here.

Combined Resolve II is a U.S. Army Europe-directed multinational exercise at the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels Training Areas in Germany. The exercise, which is scheduled to run from May 15 to June 30, 2014, includes more than 4,000 participants from 15 allied and partner countries.

Planning for an event of this magnitude begins approximately two years prior to the exercise start. The decision on which countries will participate in which roles is made during a combat training center scheduling conference with all available multinational partners.

"We start scheduling and building a formation based on availability and capabilities of the nations and their willingness to participate," said Col. John G. Norris, commander of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center.

Each nation has the ability to choose what their forces need to work on and they can volunteer in those roles during the exercise in order to meet the needs of their Soldiers and future goals of their armed forces, said Norris.

The 12th Georgian Infantry Battalion Georgians has a unique opportunity participating in this exercise as the lead of a multinational battalion, including a Georgian, Lithuanian, and a U.S. company from the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas, said Norris.

One of the biggest challenges across the board has been language.

"The language barrier can be very difficult to get orders across. By continually working together, we are able to learn how to communicate effectively and efficiently, especially during the heat of a battle," said Sgt. 1st Class Ivan Alvira, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

In a multinational exercise, learning to communicate with other Soldiers can be a learning exercise of its own.

"Soldiers have a unique way of solving problems, and that is the real beauty of this exercise," said Norris. "Soldiers are out here getting to work in a multinational environment and they are solving problems with their partners. When Soldiers exchange coffee or when Soldiers exchange cigarettes, they immediately begin to break down barriers and start to realize that we are all the same and we all have something to offer in this environment."

Countries interested in participating in an exercise of this magnitude will have to wait for the next rotation. Norris said if a unit is ready, willing and able to participate they are welcome to join Combined Resolve III from mid-October to mid-November 2014.