YAVORIV, Ukraine (Nov. 24, 2015) -- The opening ceremony of Fearless Guardian II marked the start of the combined training between Soldiers from the Joint Multinational Training Group - Ukraine, or JMTG-U, Ukrainian Land Forces and Ukrainian Special Operations forces, Nov. 23.

The JMTG-U training program is part of ongoing efforts to contribute to Ukraine's long-term military reform and professionalism and to help improve Ukraine's internal defense capabilities and training capacity.

"One of the best traits of a good organization is that it is able to adapt and to learn," said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, U.S. Army Europe commander. "So we have all learned a lot from the first phase and I think those improvements in the training will be reflected in the next stage."

Fearless Guardian II will consist of training up to five battalions of ministry of defense personnel and one battalion of special operations forces personnel. The training program for land forces at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center is scheduled to last for one year. The special operations forces training will be held at Khmelnitsky.

The Ukrainian Land Forces will receive infantry-based, defensive-focused training at the individual and collective levels including medical training in combat lifesaver and casualty evacuation; counter-unmanned aerial vehicle tactics training; counter-improvised explosive device training; cordon and knock/search training; Law of Armed Conflict and use of force training; and various common Soldier and collective tasks such as first aid, survival, land navigation, communication, and unit operations.

The special operations portion of the training will start with advanced individual techniques such as advanced land navigation and advanced marksmanship, while working to enhance leadership capabilities in risk management and troop leading procedures. From there, the training will transition into small unit tactics and Military Operations in Urban Terrain, or MOUT, and end with a final cumulative exercise.

"I have been impressed with the efforts of Gen. Pushnyakov to continue to develop the training center at the same time that he has Soldiers who are fighting in the [Anti-Terrorism Operation]. To do both represents a real investment," Hodges said.

The training effort also includes development of the training center at IPSC, its training cadre and long term work with the ministry of defense on its doctrinal programs, which are also being worked as a part of this training effort.

"But even [more] important to me than the dollar value assistance is the partnership that we are building between Ukraine, United States and our other NATO partners, who are a part of this important exercise," said Geoffrey R. Pyatt, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

United States units participating in the JMTG-U include the California National Guard, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 10th Special Forces Group, and training support personnel from U.S. Army Europe and the Joint Multinational Training Command, or JMTC. The California National Guard is contributing to the effort under the State Partnership Program.