YAVORIV, Ukraine -- Maj. Lionel Gonzalez and Sgt. Maj. Michael Filipiak, Battalion Training Group officer and non-commissioned officer in charge with Task Force Illini, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Illinois Army National Guard, mentored Ukraine Armed Forces infantry advisors during a series of company-level training exercises at Combat Training Center-Yavoriv, Ukraine, Aug. 26.
Gonzalez and Filipiak observed the battalion and company trainers and ensured they had the resources the AFU trainers’ needed to successfully train their forces.
“The importance of a situational training exercise here at CTC-Y is twofold. First, this collective training allows for AFU leaders to develop, maintain, and enhance their skills at the team and squad level. This direct, hands-on training allows leaders to ensure each soldier is proficient in their essential task. Second, it provides for on-the-spot corrections to eliminate bad habits and allows leaders to mold their Soldiers into the force they desire,” Filipiak said.
Company-Level Infantry Advisor, Sgt. 1st Class Theodore Durden is one of many Task Force Illini personnel working in the field with his Armed Forces of Ukraine counterparts. While overseeing the AFU’s detainee training, Durden said he enjoyed passing on his knowledge of infantry tactics.
“I am most impressed by their commitment to professionalism and their eagerness in learning how to improve their skills,” said Durden.
Another Company Level Advisor, 1st Lt. Eric Modransky, Battalion Fires Advisor, overseeing his Armed Forces of Ukraine counterparts as they conduct urban operations.
“They are eager to learn and are motivated. The AFU instructors are very knowledgeable with a passion to share that knowledge,” said Modranksy.
Task Force Illini is the command element of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, which is responsible for training, advising and mentoring the Ukrainian cadre at Combat Training Center-Yavoriv, Ukraine in order to improve Armed Forces Ukraine’s training capacity and defense capabilities.