YAVORIV, Ukraine - Ukrainian army soldiers from the 2nd Parachute Airborne Battalion, 25th Airborne Brigade conducted the first platoon live-fire exercise for rotation two of Joint Multinational Training Group Ukraine April 12, 2016 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center.
The exercise was the next progressive step in the collective tasks training phase of JMTG-U. Over the weeks prior, Ukrainian soldiers have successfully completed individual tasks and section live-fire training, which led to their first platoon live-fire exercise.
Leading the training efforts were Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
"Our ability to demonstrate squad, section, and platoon live-fire exercises aided in the Ukrainian concept development and stimulated tactical dialogue between both countries on how to approach these exercises. Squad and section scenario training exercises along with live fires during previous weeks enabled 4th Company to rapidly progress towards their successful platoon live fire," said Sgt. Tayler Rosen, squad leader C Company, 3-15 Infantry.
The Ukrainian soldiers encountered a complex scenario designed to test the skills they have acquired during the previous weeks of JMTG-U. The scenario included dismounted infantry maneuver combined with that of mounted using the Boyevaya Mashina Desanta, which is a tracked infantry-fighting vehicle of the Ukrainian airborne forces. Along the way, the soldiers fired at simulated targets, breached an obstacle and encountered the final objective, a series wooden structures designed to emulate an urban environment.
"The 2-25 Airborne Battalion performed exceptionally well during platoon live-fire exercises. They demonstrated their mastery of warfighting fundamentals, specifically with regards to integrating their armored combat vehicles with dismounted infantry squads and synchronizing direct and indirect fires as part of a very complex live-fire scenario. This greatly enhances their ability to conduct defensive operations and defend their country," said Lt. Col. Nathan Minami, 3-15 Infantry commander.
The exercise wasn't solely focused on the tactics. Part of the JMTG-U efforts in assisting Ukraine with building a capacity for self-defense is noncommissioned officer development. Soldiers with 3-15 Infantry demonstrated to Ukrainian leaders the necessity of empowering NCOs to the lowest levels, which proved to be a key factor in the success of the platoon live-fire exercise.
"The 4th Company command team and platoon leadership took a very engaged approach towards each training event. This led to further NCO empowerment and development which was evident during platoon live fires. Their open and engaged leadership truly enabled each tactical level to progress each week as displayed by their soldier's motivation during these exercises," said Rosen.
The soldiers of 2-25 Airborne will continue their 55-day training schedule and will progress to even more complex scenarios in the weeks ahead.