Thunderbirds Arrive in Ukraine
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Thunderbirds Arrive in Ukraine
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma Army National Guard load onto an aircraft at Fort Bliss, Texas, Jan. 8.
The Soldiers are deploying to Ukraine for a six month rotation as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukrai... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
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Thunderbirds Arrive in Ukraine
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team load onto an aircraft at Fort Bliss, Texas on Jan. 8 for a six month rotation as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.
As part of the JMTG-U, the 45th will be working with their Ukr... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
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Thunderbirds Arrive in Ukraine
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Soldier from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deplanes into the Lviv airport after arriving in Ukriane on Jan. 9.
The 45th arrived in Ukraine on Jan. 9 for the first of two six-month rotations with the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukrai... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
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Thunderbirds Arrive in Ukraine
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team collect their baggage in the L'viv, airport before traveling to the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine. The soldiers are deployed in support of Joint Multinational ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Thunderbirds Arrive in Ukraine
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Soldier with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team waits in sub-zero temperatures for bags to be unloaded after arriving at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv Ukraine on Jan. 10.
The 45th arrived in Ukraine on Jan. 9 fo... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
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YAVORIV, Ukraine - Approximately 250 soldiers from the Oklahoma Army National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team arrived in Ukraine this week to begin their deployment in support of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.

The JMTG-U mission, which falls under 7th Army Training Command and U.S. Army Europe, will pair Thunderbirds from 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment with Ukrainian Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 28th Mechanized Brigade and 1st Battalion, 79th Airborne Brigade.

During their time in Ukraine, the 1-179th soldiers will mentor and train the two Ukrainian battalions. The 45th IBCT will also focus on taking the next steps towards advancing the goals of the Ukrainian's combat training center which is being established at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine.

Lt. Col. Colby Wyatt, commander of the 1st Bat., 179th Inf. Regt., said his Thunderbirds are uniquely qualified for the mission.

"In my time with this battalion, we've been evaluated twice at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana," Wyatt said. "We've also done a third rotation in the box augmenting the opposing force, which should put us in a good position to help the Ukrainians develop their OPFOR."

Wyatt also has experience serving as an observer controller trainer at JRTC.

"The Ukrainians have a capable army," said Wyatt, adding that his Soldiers aren't at JMTG-U to tell the Ukrainian army what to do, but rather they are there to add another tool to their partner's tool belt.

"Ultimately, they should modify the training to work for them," Wyatt said. "We want to enable the Ukrainians to train themselves, we want to work ourselves out of a job."

The 1-179th soldiers will spend the next few weeks preparing themselves to execute the first training rotation with Ukraine's 1st Battalion, 28th Mechanized Brigade. Wyatt's soldiers will serve in Ukraine for the next six months.