YAVORIV, Ukraine - Soldiers with the Ukrainian Land Forces conducted the first section live-fire exercise for rotation two of Joint Multinational Training Group Ukraine Apr.1, 2016 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center.
The exercise was a culmination of the previous weeks of individual-based training, which included weapons familiarization classes, multiple rifle marksmanship ranges, and a squad live-fire exercise lead by Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
"Today was phenomenal in the progress they showed from yesterday to today. We really saw them focus on rehearsals and troop leading procedures. We went from dry to blank to live exercises and they really showed a lot of progress today at each iteration," said Capt. Thomas Olmstead, C Co. Commander, 3-15 Inf.
The focus of the day's training was to react to contact by simulated enemy fire while utilizing a Boyevaya Mashina Desanta, which is a tracked infantry-fighting vehicle of the Ukrainian airborne forces.
Ukrainian soldiers' skills were put to the test over the day, as they had to meet several training objectives in order to accomplish their mission. The exercise consisted of mounted maneuver and fire, dismounted movement, a counterattack and finally ending with clearing a building as part of urban operations.
"There are great Ukrainian soldiers, officers and NCOs here. The most impressive aspect is their ability to empower their NCOs to perform their duties, which has really facilitated training and really allowed us to achieve at this point during week six looking at section live-fire exercises," said Olmstead.
The exercise is a transition point for rotation two of JMTG-U. Ukrainian army soldiers have progressed from individual-based training and are moving forward with the next phase, collective tasks training.
The training has had a personal impact on the relationship between U.S. and Ukrainian soldiers.
"The partnership between everyone including our Soldiers up through myself and their company commander has been great. It's almost like family at this point being with them," said Olmstead. "We're spending every day together training together. That's one of the better aspects of this mission being able to share not just the partnership and the lessons learned as far as the training but also the relationships that we've build out here with each one of them," Olmstead added.