By Ms. Lacey Justinger (Grafenwoehr)October 10, 2016
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The 7th Army Training Command (7ATC) welcomed a delegation of Ukraine military leaders, including Gen. Viktor Muzhenko, the chief of general staff, Commander in Chief of Armed Forces for Ukraine, to tour the U.S. Army's training ranges and facilities, here, during a two-day visit, Oct. 9-10.
Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), and Brig. Gen. Tony Aguto, commander of 7ATC, hosted the visit to strengthen the relationship between the Ukrainian Armed Forces and USAREUR as they continue to work together to build and refine the development of the combat training center at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center (IPSC) in Yavoriv, Ukraine.
"This is a great training area," said Col. Ihor Slisarchuk, commander of the IPSC, who has toured Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas previously. "The biggest advantage that I see is that our military leadership is here to see firsthand what it is and how it works. You have lots of things that we can learn from you, and I know that you also learn something from us, too."
The Ukrainian group also included Lt. Gen. Leonid Holopatiuk, chief of the General Directorate of Military Cooperation and Peacekeeping; Maj. Gen. Mykhailo Zabrodskyi, commander of the Airborne Forces; Maj. Gen. Ihor Dovgan, commander of Operational Command West; and Maj. Gen. Oleksandr Lokota, commander of Operational Command North.
They were shown 7ATC's training methodology and capabilities to facilitate conversations about keeping the training areas in Germany and Ukraine realistic, relevant and up-to-date with current threats.
"The visit was specifically so that they could see how 7ATC runs the maneuver force-on-force at Hohenfels, and the range complexes and live-fire capabilities at Grafenwoehr," Hodges said, adding that he was proud of the investment that U.S. government has made during the decades to develop the 7ATC training center that gives Soldiers the best chance to build readiness. "Because it's such a good quality place, other nations want to come and train here as well. This gives us the opportunity to work on interoperability, which is essential to how we're going to fight."
The first day was spent touring 7ATC's Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) at Hohenfels, where exercise Allied Spirit V is currently in play. The group convoyed through JMRC's training area, visiting the tactical operations centers for Lithuania's Iron Wolf Brigade, the brigade headquarters for this multinational rotation, and the U.S. Army's 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment.
The second day brought the group here, to learn about the Grafenwoehr Training Area ranges and the Joint Multinational Simulation Center.
"Most important is that this is not just a trip like a tourist trip: to see and forget," said Holopatiuk. "What we will bring from here, it will be analyzed about what can be implemented in Ukraine. A lot of things we've already done. We are in the position to improve."
Discussions focused on how to build opposing forces and observer coach/trainer teams through realistic experiences - like integrating into exercise rotations; and develop and employ training tools that strengthen strategic training environments - like instrumentation and after-action reviews.
These two-way conversations are important in helping both sides understand the expectations that will refine Joint Multinational Training Group - Ukraine's efforts in the combat training center development at IPSC.
"We want to use your best practices and to see the best things that you have, we would like to apply them in our training area," said Slisarchuk. "But it won't be just blind application of what you have here. We would also combine it with our experience, with our best practices. I'm sure that we will succeed."