By Spc. Anna ChurcoJune 3, 2017
HOHENFELS, GERMANY-1st Lt. Zachary Grove and Sgt. 1st Class Austin McNichols hold their troops' attention while demonstrating rappelling techniques. The sounds of a Chinook taking off fills the air for a moment, and then the world is silent again in the hills of Joint Multinational Readiness Center, here.
Grove goes back to his instruction without missing a beat. For the 870th Engineer Company from the Florida National Guard, this training is invaluable.
Grove, a sapper platoon leader, from Orlando, Florida, and McNichols, a platoon sergeant combat engineer, from Gainesville, Florida understand the rarity of having an extended period of time to train their troops. During their annual training at JMRC, their troops will work together in the field for three weeks during exercise Combined Resolve VIII.
Combined Resolve VIII is a multinational exercise designed to train the Army's Regionally Allocated Forces to the U.S. European Command.
The annual training during Combined Resolve VIII will allow the Soldiers of the 870th Engineer Company to train together in a completely new environment, while using new equipment they otherwise would not have, said McNichols.
Being able to train at JMRC has been a positive experience, and has allowed the Soldiers time to work together as a platoon, said Grove.
Participating in Combined Resolve VIII gives these National Guard leaders an excellent opportunity to train with their own Soldiers for an extended period of time, while also allowing them to work with other NATO allies.
"Downrange, I had to learn to work with other countries, so this is a great experience for the younger Soldiers to practice that skill before they deploy," said McNichols.
Combined Resolve VIII allows leaders in National Guard units to pass on their knowledge to younger Soldiers.
"As leaders, we are exposed to some extra training that the younger Soldiers don't get," said Grove, "Coming to JMRC for this exercise gives us an opportunity to pass down information that they need."
Participating Combined Resolve VIII has allowed the soldiers to gain valuable experience training together that will be used long after they leave JMRC, McNichols said.