GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (May 7, 2017) -- Gathered at a display of military tanks here, during this overcast Sunday afternoon were Soldiers from six different nations: Austria, France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and the United States.

At today's opening ceremony for the Strong Europe Tank Challenge (SETC), multinational Soldiers climbed onto each participating unit's tank to compare and contrast as well as get to know the competition.

The second annual training opportunity is a U.S. Army Europe and German Army hosted-event that brought platoons and their tanks to compete against each other in offensive and defensive operations as well as vehicle identification, battle damage assessment and precision maneuvers. The event will take place here, May 7-12.

The Acting Secretary of the Army, Robert M. Speer paid a visit to the SETC opening ceremony where he mingled with the various Soldiers as he walked around from tank to tank.
Multinational training opportunities like the SETC improves Army readiness.

"We operated much more independently as the U.S. Army," said Speer, a 28-year veteran who has witnessed the Army transform. "Now we rely upon and must train with [Allies and partners] to build total readiness across the force."

Alongside improving mission readiness, multinational training aims to build unit cohesion.
Although competitions usually center around who will take home bragging rights, the SETC is focused on unity and partnership.

"This is a competition," said Sgt. Maj. David Glenn, 7th Army Training Command's operations senior noncommissioned officer. "But it's not really about the competition. It's really about training, partnership, esprit de corps and interoperability."

Regardless of who wins this year's competition, the training will strengthen all participating platoons as well as provide team cohesion among Allies and partners.

"Our promise to anyone who sends a team to participate is that the team you get back will be a better trained platoon than the one you sent us," said Glenn.