By Ray Johnson, IMCOM-Europe Public Affairs OfficerDecember 20, 2017
NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria -- One of Julia Sibilla's last duties as site director here, where U.S., NATO and partner militaries prepare for combat, called for showcasing how this sprawling range helps to shape units as a single force to face any threat.
She did so by hosting "Meet the Leaders," an opportunity for key Bulgarian and U.S. counterparts "to learn firsthand how this installation operates and how we support the warfighter while they train," said Sibilla, who hosted the event along with Scot Seitz, deputy commander of the Black Sea Area Support Team.
The one-day gathering focused on an overview of installation operations and upcoming major exercises.
For training purposes, "Novo Selo remains one of our premier training locations in Europe, a base offering unique opportunities for realistic and challenging maneuvers and live fire," said Col. Shannon Johnson, U.S. military attaché for the U.S. Embassy in Sofia. "Deterrence is only effective if we are truly ready to fight; Novo Selo is a key partner in our preparation."
Attendees also toured where troops live and are supported while deployed here.
After viewing the quality-of-life environment provided by members of Installation Management Command, Mariya Zhelyazkova, a retired Bulgarian army officer who works in the U.S. Embassy, called the conditions "impressive."
"For us, this is a great example how the will and dedication of a team, even one with limited resources, can successfully impact the whole mission," said Zhetlova. "You showed us how U.S. and Bulgarian military and civilians have become a family."
Col. Lyubomir Vachev, commander of the Bulgarian army's Specialist Training Center agreed, saying: "An installation like NSTA needs strong leadership and teamwork to manage and to cover amenities needed for Soldiers during their stay. I saw that here."
As for the event overall, Lt. Col. Pete Moon, commander of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment from Fort Riley, Kansas, called it "a great day with our Bulgarian civic and military partners. It will help in building close relationships and laying down the foundation for our partnerships."
Col. James McGlaughn, commander of BSAST added: "I sincerely appreciate the leaders I met and interacted with, from those in the Bulgarian military to those representing the Department of State. I look forward to future exchanges."