HOHENFELS, Germany -- More than 5,000 service members from 21 nations convened on one location for a semiannual multinational exercise. Together with their NATO allies and partners, U.S. Soldiers kicked off the culminating event of Combined Resolve XII at Hohenfels Training Area on Aug.15, 2019.

Combined Resolve is a U.S. Army Europe exercise held twice a year in southeastern Germany, involving U.S. Army, allied and partner nation military forces.

This exercise allows U.S. forces to demonstrate their ability to fight and win against an equally capable force, along with allies and partners in the European theater. It is a fundamental exercise for rotational units supporting U.S. Army Europe.

The goal of the exercise is to assess and increase the readiness and lethality of the U.S. Army Soldiers, build ally and partner readiness and continue to enhance interoperability.

"The exercise will effectively demonstrate interoperability in a scenario that showcases large scale combat operations with our allies and partner nations," said Col. Paul T. Krattiger Commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

Along with 1st ABCT, the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas make up the majority of the Soldiers participating in the event . These two units are part of the U.S. Army Europe's Regionally Allocated Forces (RAF) -- rotational units deployed in Europe to enhance deterrence capabilities and increase U.S. Army Europe's ability to respond to potential crises.

This portion Combined Resolve XII, is a force on force exercise where Soldiers and leaders conduct large-scale maneuver operations to validate their ability to fight and win against a threat as an allied force.

For the Soldiers in the field, it is an opportunity to train in a simulated combat environment and experience realistic scenarios they could face in a modern battlefield.

"A lot of my Soldiers haven't experienced this kind of field training," said Army Staff Sgt. Mark Anthony Ramirez, platoon sergeant attached to the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 1st ABCT. "After this, they'll have a better idea of operating as a recon-type element in a combat zone. Anything we can do as little dismount squads, any armor that we can take out of the battlefield, will help in the bigger picture to allow the battalion to maneuver more effectively."

In addition to field training, Soldiers have the opportunity to work in conjunction with the military forces from other nations. Each service member participating has the opportunity to learn and enhance interoperability with allied and partner nations.

Alongside U.S. forces, the other nations participating in this iteration of Combined Resolve XII are: Armenia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

"An exercise like Combined Resolve challenges us to integrate with our allies in a large scale scenario," said Krattiger. "That is the future of our fight. In order to win, we absolutely need to integrate."