WIESBADEN, Germany -- U.S. Army Soldiers from the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB), 2nd Signal Brigade, and South Carolina National Guard Soldiers from the 151st ESB, 228th Signal Brigade, teamed together to provide communications and network support to U.S. and multinational forces during exercise Combined Resolve VII at the Hohenfels Training Area.

Exercise Combined Resolve VII is a major exercise involving more than 3,500 participants from the U.S. and 15 NATO Ally and partner nations at the Army's Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas in southeastern Germany, Aug. 8 to Sept. 15, 2016. The exercise is designed to provide Regionally Allocated Forces with multinational training and partnership opportunities that will enhance the flexibility, agility and ability to better operate alongside NATO Allies and partners in Europe.

The National Guard signal Soldiers worked side-by-side with the 44th ESB in support of the 3rd Infantry Division, Europe's designated Regionally Allocated Force, and Romanian and Polish forces during the exercise.

"Supporting Combined Resolve VII provides an opportunity for our teams to understand the operational environment, interact with partners and Allies and work through communications challenges," said Lt. Col. Adam Sannutti, commander of the 44th ESB. "The goal is to provide robust and resilient communications capabilities to multinational forces enabling speed of recognition, decision and assembly."

1st Lt. Samuel Hronesz of the 151st ESB said his Soldiers were eager to work with the 44th ESB and observe how foreign signal soldiers operate as well.

"It is different for us going from just one weekend of a month to being here for four weeks. Having us come over here and support missions like this is helping build that connection between the National Guard and active duty, as well as the U.S. Army and foreign militaries," Hronesz said.

He said the goal for the 151st ESB Soldiers at the exercise is to build working relationships with the active Army, become more mission ready and learn how to operate new equipment.

"One thing we have learned is that we have to keep working with the active-duty units to help build that relationship. I believe being here has changed a lot of people's image of the National Guard for the better," Hronesz said.

Integrating Reserve and National Guard forces is one of the pillars of U.S. Army Europe's "Strong Europe" framework and provides increased manpower and capability to forces stationed in Europe.

"It's about meeting the operational need, making 30,000 look like 300,000. We look forward to bring these guys over again soon," said Sgt. Maj. Ron Yingling, 2nd Signal Brigade operations sergeant major.

The 44th ESB and 151st ESB have established a formal partnership and are looking for more joint training opportunities in the future.

"This is an incredible opportunity for both organizations and I believe we have laid the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship moving forward," Sannutti said.

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5th Signal Command (Theater) builds, operates and defends network capabilities to enable mission command and create tactical, operational and strategic flexibility for the Army, joint and multinational forces in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility.

2nd Signal Brigade builds, operates and defends Mission Command System and networks to support unified action anytime, anywhere.