VICENZA, Italy - U.S. Army Signaleers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the Slovenian Army's 1st Brigade Signal Company hosted a combined Radio Telephone Operators multination communications training exercise at Caserma Del Din, May 9-13, 2016, here, to increase radio interoperability between the two NATO allies.
The RTO academy brought Sky Soldiers and the Slovenian army together to further develop expert radio operators capable of performing in combat environments and instructing fellow troops on the basics of Army tactical communication systems.
"The training was a good experience, both refreshing and new. The RTO academy provides a deeper understanding on how the devices of our allies work with the rest of the world," said Slovenian army Sgt. Rajko Maljuga. "It's always nice to get the opportunity to work with new equipment and see how we can improve our communications. This allows us to operate together more seamlessly during training exercises."
The course, instructed primarily by senior subject matter experts from the 173rd Abn Bde taught signaleers maintenance and proper procedures of U.S. Army tactical communications systems. Additionally, the academy included training on field-craft techniques, radio etiquette, and communications security, reporting procedures and the effects of terrain on communication systems.
"It's an honor to have such a quality relationship with the Slovenian army 1st Brigade Signaleers. We have worked with them numerous times before and we continue to have great training that makes us all better soldiers," 1st Lt. Matthew Garnier, the executive officer for Signal Company, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade.
A quarterly RTO course is also available to allies and partners to continue the focus on interoperability and tactical communication skills leading up to major field exercises, said Garnier.
After training on the tactical radios, signaleers from both nations developed tactics, techniques, and procedures for the usage of radio operations solutions that will help set the stage for future multinational battlefield communications, and for higher levels of NATO communications.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army's Contingency Response Force in Europe, providing rapidly deployable forces to the U.S. Army Europe, Africa and Central Commands area of responsibility within 18 hours. The Brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build stronger relationships and strengthen the alliance.