YAVORIV, Ukraine - Ukrainian soldiers with the 1st Battalion 72nd Mechanized Brigade completed a squad live-fire exercise Jun. 4, 2016 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center as part of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.
Instructing the training were Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. The training occurred within the 55-day program of instruction as part of JMTG-U. The soldiers of 1-72 Mech are the third rotational battalion to take part in the training.
The live-fire exercise began with a series of blank ammunition rehearsals for each of the squads in order to ensure safety and basic understanding of tactics before progressing to live ammunition.
There were several essential tasks that each squad had to demonstrate proficiency on for the day's training to include proper movement techniques, entering and clearing a trench and lastly engaging a series of simulated enemy targets. Safety was an overlying theme that was reinforced at each step in the event.
The 3-15 Infantry "Can Do" team of Soldiers provided immediate feedback in relation to proper spacing and safety by walking with each Ukrainian squad. Immediately following each iteration, they conducted an after action review with the 1-72 Mech soldiers to discuss from start to finish the actions that went well and the areas that they could improve upon.
"One of the things that they are learning from us is weapons safety while being accurate and deliberate. Another important thing is overall teamwork. Now, they're doing a lot better with communication and working together as a team," said Sgt. 1st Class Travis Kelbaugh, platoon sergeant Charlie Company, 3-15 Infantry.
The squad live-fire exercise was one of the various culminating events within the rotation. Over the weeks prior, the Ukrainian soldiers worked with their 3-15 Infantry counterparts on individual weapons qualification, reflexive fire training and weapons safety.
The squad live-fire training marked a transition point for 1-72 Mech. They have now successfully completed the individual skills portion of the training and are firmly into the collective phase.
The training will increase in size and complexity in weeks ahead to include section, platoon and company live-fire events. All of the training being conducted is designed to reinforce defensive skills of the Ukrainian Land Forces in order to increase their capacity for self-defense.