YAVORIV, UKRAINE (Nov. 22, 2017) - The New York Army National Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) formally took command of the Joint Multinational Training Group - Ukraine (JMTG-U) from the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th IBCT during a Transfer of Authority ceremony here Nov. 22.

Approximately 250 U.S. Soldiers from the 27th IBCT assigned to the JMTG-U will take the lessons learned from the 45th and build upon their successes as they further assist in developing the capabilities of Ukrainian ground forces during their time in country, which is expected to last until late next summer.

The 27th IBCT is headquartered out of Syracuse, NY with most of the Soldiers assigned to task force Orion coming from the 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry headquartered at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The squadron also has troops in Jamestown, Geneva, and Buffalo.

The 45th IBCT has been deployed in Ukraine since January where they have worked together with Ukrainian forces in developing a combat training center (CTC).

The goal of the CTC is to provide Ukrainian troops with the facilities, experience, and knowledge to develop their warfighting capabilities to achieve NATO interoperability.

Engaged in this effort along with the U.S. and Ukraine, are soldiers from Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

During the ceremony, Madam Marie L. Yovanovitch, The United States ambassador to Ukraine addressed the troops where she praised the successes of the 45th IBCT, and charged the incoming 27th IBCT Soldiers to build upon their legacy.

"This is a bittersweet day for the Thunderbirds," said Col. Dave Jordan, the 45th IBCT Commander. "We are certainly excited to get back home and see our families and return to our civilian jobs, but it's difficult to leave our friends and comrades in arms."

"The capacity that you have helped build at this combat training center will help serve Ukraine for decades," said Jordan. "I believe we have all learned as many lessons as we've taught. We must now return to our home nations and pass on what we've learned from our Ukrainian brothers to our own formations."

Soldiers from the 27th arrived in Ukraine early this November after completing pre-mobilization training at Fort Bliss, TX and additional training with the 7th Army Training Command at Grafenwohr, Germany.

"Today is exciting for the 27th IBCT's task force Orion as we assume this important mission" said Col. Dennis Deeley, the 27th IBCT (forward) commander. "This is a complex mission, however Col. Jordan and the entire 45th IBCT have done an outstanding job preparing us," said Deeley. "It is your time now to carry the torch and bring this mission to the next level of success."

A delegation including ambassador Yovanovitch, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Maj. Gen. John Gronski, and Brig. Gen. Tony Aguto welcomed the incoming JMTG-U commander, Col. Deeley and Task Force Orion and said their goodbyes to Col. Jordan and his Thunderbirds.

The 27th IBCT (forward) is now officially set in motion as the third iteration of the JMTG-U and looks to make a significant impact on the Ukrainian Armed Forces and their training facilities. Each day will present opportunities to form relationships and build cohesion amongst the various nations involved.