This was not a typical rotation for the HDF as they performed duties outside of their primary function for GEO MRE 9. The HDF added on additional training hours, working jointly, with the 1-4 IN. for the first time. The unique training focused on continued interoperability with allied forces in hopes of creating a new partnership with the HDF. The training served as a trial effort for both units to observe and achieve cohesiveness. Troops on both sides gained experience they never had before. This was the first time the respective forces trained on the foreign weapon systems. Junior Soldiers of the 1-4 IN. were able to develop themselves by teaching and familiarizing HDF cadets on U.S. weapon systems. Similarly, HDF cadets and cadre trained 1-4 IN. Soldiers on Hungarian weapons systems to include the PKM, Glock 17 and AK- 6 while conducting a joint familiarization live fire static range. The training also included night operations and Squad Tactical Exercise lanes, totaling seven days' worth of training during the rotation.
The joint effort was led by Hungarian-American, infantryman, Capt. Pete Fortier assigned to the 1-4 IN, Fortier, a native Hungarian speaker, saw an opportunity during the past rotation to speak to the Hungarian allies. Testing off his language skills, Fortier, struck up a causal conversation with Capt. Gergely Magyar and Sgt. Maj Tamas Zsiros, both assigned to Ludovika Battalion at the Military Academy of Hungary. The affable conversation subsequently led to training ideas and initiatives. Then the trio devised a plan to conduct a joint training exercise with the 1-4 IN., simultaneously during with GEO MRE 9. This joint effort took about six months of planning and training leading up to the exercise.
"We tailored our training objectives to nest with their desired objectives, and through proper planning both units were able to execute efficient joint training," said Capt. Fortier
Sgt. Maj. Zsrios says that the HDF has been participating in the GEO MRE since the summer of 2014 and this is the first time that these two units have collaborated. He expressed that the training was like nothing the HDF has done before on a rotation.
"The primary goal any time we go to Hohenfels is the GEO rotation," said Sgt. Maj. Zsiros "We typically play as enemy soldiers."
The final task had each side work independently of each other to conduct a joint night raid. The successful completion of the task forged a new bond with the allied forces with hopes to continue this kind of partnership in the future. The raids were a success, especially for the new Hungarian cadets with about six months of experience in the armed forces.
"The cadets rose to the occasion to conduct small unit tactics jointly with our Scout Platoon," said Capt. Fortier. "1-4 is looking forward to our future joint training opportunities."
The Soldiers concluded the exercise with a presentation of plaques, as a symbol of appreciation for the dedication both units put into the training. With this endeavor being such a success, leadership has discussed the possibilities of more joint activities in the very near future