LVIV, Ukraine – Task Force Illini, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Illinois Army National Guard, welcomed distinguished U.S military visitors to Combat Training Center-Yavoriv, Ukraine (CTC-Y), Sept. 24.The distinguished visitors included U.S Army Europe’s Chief Information Officer Brig. Gen. Joseph Papenfus, Military Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev Air Force Col. Brittany Stewart and Army Attaché to the Embassy Col. Paul Schmitt, Office of Defense Cooperation Chief Col. Daniel Miller, and Rapid Trident Co-Exercise Director Col. Michael Hanson.The day was an opportunity for U.S military personnel assigned to the U.S Embassy in Kyiv to get an on-the-ground look into Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine operations.Col. Clayton Kuetemeyer, Task Force Illini commander, briefed the delegation on the history of the JMTG-U mission, the current status, and a vision for the future of the mission.“It was an absolutely wonderful way to familiarize myself with my first real week on the job as Military Attaché and to be able to learn and to see the relationships that have been built on all of the years since Ukrainian independence,” said Stewart.The visitors attended a multinational briefing on the conduct of exercise Rapid Trident 2020.“The attendance of Brigadier General Papenfus on behalf of Lieutenant General Cavoli, the U.S. Army Europe Commander, and the U.S. Embassy team underscores the strategic importance of Rapid Trident and our advising mission,” said Kuetemeyer. ”We are proud to be a part of the multinational effort to increase Armed Forces Ukraine’s combat readiness and NATO interoperability.The group visited the Ukrainian Red Cross Society’s transit camp, which is supporting multinational Soldiers participating in Rapid Trident 2020. They then observed urban assault training and an anti-terrorism exercise. Later, the embassy team rode in a Ukrainian Hind helicopter for an aerial view of Combat Training Center-Yavoriv.“Coming here during Rapid Trident, and the exercise as a whole, has really been phenomenal, the efforts undertaken here, the number of troops and the training that has been done,” said Papenfus. “Even with a COVID environment we have proved that successful training can be done while still protecting our troops, which is our most valuable asset. So, I really appreciate all the efforts that are ongoing here.”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.