LVIV, Ukraine – Task Force Illini Company-level advisors from the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Illinois Army National Guard, observed live-fire training instructed by their Ukrainian counterparts at Combat Training Center-Yavoriv (CTC-Y), Ukraine, Nov. 13.
“The live fire is important because the trainer is at the first level- the section level- where the squad and platoon commanders can take charge. So, that is what their focus was on today- the communication and the signals for attack,” said Company Advisor 1st Lt. Lemar Brown, of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Recently, Task Force Illini advisors welcomed the second rotational training unit, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) 58th Separate Motorifle Brigade, to the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U) mission. U.S. advisors said working with the previous rotation has prepared them to anticipate interoperability and cultural differences.
“Right now, communication is what they are lacking. Our evaluation over time, between last rotation and this rotation, we can see there is a lack of confidence.” said Brown, “The U.S. has our standard commands. If you take me out and plug me into another section, the commands would be the same. That is what I am trying to get them to focus on right now, and once that is laid down, we can focus on the bigger picture.”
The JMTG-U mission employs a crawl-walk-run framework, where each training week builds on the last. The training lanes help AFU Soldiers build confidence in their sections and themselves.
“It was a very important factor for them to conduct section live fire. They feel much more confident after the training, and I am sure they know how to occupy a position. Seeing the lane is how they gain confidence and become more experienced,” said Lt. Evgen Tkachenko, a Ukrainian Observer Controller Trainer.
Brown said the Ukrainian cadre show an unwavering dedication to learning how to improve their teaching methods.
“They soak up all of your knowledge. They truly want to learn and get better, and they care about their units,” said Brown. “You can see the emotion on their faces while they’re instructing. That dedication is incredibly valuable. It has been amazing so far.”
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.