By Spc. Glenn M. Anderson, 221st Public Affairs DetachmentMarch 11, 2015
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (March 11, 2015) -- Army Reserve Soldiers, from the 7th Civil Support Command, joined 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team paratroopers at the M320 grenade launcher range partnership training that exemplifies the Strong Europe concept.
The paratroopers, known as Sky Soldiers, quickly bonded with the Reserve troops - most of whom were from the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade. The paratroopers' greenish camouflage uniforms stood out from the Reserve's gray digital print fabric - but underneath, they formed a seamless team.
"This kind of training shows that we are all on the same team," said Sgt. Marcus Carter, a squad leader from Company B, 1st Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment. "It does not matter if you are active duty or Reserve. We all play an integral part of the U.S. Army Europe team."
A few days earlier, Soldiers from the Kaiserslautern, Germany-based 7th Civil Support Command invited the Vicenza, Italy-based active-duty infantrymen to take part in a land navigation course. To return the favor, the paratroopers offered to familiarize them with the M320, a rifle-mounted 40-millimeter grenade launcher recently added to the Army's inventory.
"We can help and learn from each other just like the other day when the 7th Civil Support Command sponsored the land navigation course," Carter said. "Everyone helped us out with training."
The 7th Civil Support Command was in the field for Citizen Response 15, a civil affairs exercise that served as their two-weeks of required annual training. The 173rd Soldiers were preparing for contingency operations in Eastern Europe.
In all, 11 7th Civil Support Command Soldiers fired the grenade launcher for the first time.
"This was a great opportunity to come out here and train with the active component of light infantry Soldiers," said Capt. David Esra, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade. "They invited us to come and fire this weapon, which none of us had ever fired before. It was really awesome."
With training underway, it was clear that both active and Reserve Soldiers had much in common. The 173rd officer in charge of the range, 1st Lt. Nicolas Naquin said he enjoyed having Reserve Soldiers out for the live fire exercise.
"This was a great opportunity to conduct tactical training with a civil affairs unit and see that they are both tactically and professionally proficient," said Naquin, an officer with Company B, known by paratroopers as "Legion" company.
Teaming for weapons training offered an opportunity for Soldiers to learn about each others jobs. Esra shared information with Naquin about the role of a civil affairs brigade in combat operations.
"I learned a lot today about civil affairs, which I had heard a lot about," Naquin said. "I had never actually interacted much with them."