NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria - The Bulgarian Army partnered with participants from Albania, Greece, North Macedonia and U.S. Troops kicked off its first day of exercise STRIKE BACK 19 at the Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria, June 6, 2019.

"I'd like to thank our Bulgarian counterparts for hosting this world class, two-week exercise," said Capt. Matthew Ferlitsch, Company Commander for the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment from Fort Riley, Kan. "We look forward to conducting this mission and returning home to share the lessons learned and new knowledge with our home station."

For two weeks, more than 800 military personnel will participate in STRIKE BACK 19. It is a Bulgarian national exercise taking place from June 6-20, 2019 at the NSTA. Hosted by the Bulgarian Armed Forces, STRIKE BACK 19 is a multinational exercise including the participation of Albania, Greece, North Macedonia and U.S. troops.

The exercise is designed to increase capabilities and interoperability with allies and partners. The highlight of STRIKE BACK 19 is a battalion Live Fire Exercise with artillery and mortar fires. The intent is to build participants' readiness, capacity, security and stability through combined unit level tactics, individual soldier skills and other practices in forward-deployed environments.

"I speak for the entire 1-16th Infantry Regiment when I say that we are not only excited to be able to put our skillsets and tireless training on full display, but we are also excited for what we can learn from all of our counterparts during our time here," Ferlitsch said.

To follow live updates of the exercise, click on the link to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service page at or "like" the Michigan National Guard on Facebook.