Soldiers with Charlie Company “Bandidos,” 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division fire a 120mm round from an M1 Abrams tank during the combined arms live-fire exercise for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 is a maneuver and live-fire exercise that allows partnership building between Greece and the United States while enhancing unit cohesion.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers with Charlie Company “Bandidos,” 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division fire a 120mm round from an M1 Abrams tank during the combined arms live-fire exercise for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 is a maneuver and live-fire exercise that allows partnership building between Greece and the United States while enhancing unit cohesion. (Photo Credit: Cpl. Max Elliott) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army Capt. Ashton Woodard (left), commander of Charlie Company “Bandidos,” 1st Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, leads the way from an M1 Abrams tank while passing command staff following the combined arms live-fire exercise for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 allows participating forces to conduct rigorous training in realistic training environments with NATO allies and partners to ensure they are ready and lethal.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Capt. Ashton Woodard (left), commander of Charlie Company “Bandidos,” 1st Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, leads the way from an M1 Abrams tank while passing command staff following the combined arms live-fire exercise for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 allows participating forces to conduct rigorous training in realistic training environments with NATO allies and partners to ensure they are ready and lethal. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Reynolds) VIEW ORIGINAL
Hellenic Army soldiers lead the way in a Leopard A2 tank as U.S. Army M1 Abrams tank crews with Charlie Company “Bandidos,” 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division follow behind to conduct wet-gap crossing operations at the Nestos River as part of Olympic Cooperation 2021 in Xanthi, Greece, Nov. 8, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 is a live-fire and maneuver exercise designed to enhance cohesion between the United States and Greece.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Hellenic Army soldiers lead the way in a Leopard A2 tank as U.S. Army M1 Abrams tank crews with Charlie Company “Bandidos,” 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division follow behind to conduct wet-gap crossing operations at the Nestos River as part of Olympic Cooperation 2021 in Xanthi, Greece, Nov. 8, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 is a live-fire and maneuver exercise designed to enhance cohesion between the United States and Greece. (Photo Credit: Cpl. Max Elliott) VIEW ORIGINAL

XANTHI, Greece — Heat and dust fill the air as the earth yields under 125 tons of steel and armor, engines roar to life and tank tracks begin to pulverize the ground beneath them. The Leopard A2 and M1 Abrams tanks are on the prowl.

Working in tandem with mechanized infantry, helicopters and artillery to eliminate objectives through communication, firepower and maneuverability as a singular force, the United States and the Hellenic Republic defined interoperability during Olympic Cooperation 2021.

Olympic Cooperation was a joint live-fire maneuver exercise held at Triantafyllides Camp near Xanthi, Greece, from Nov. 6 - 16. For almost two weeks, U.S. and Hellenic forces trained together as NATO Allies and partners to be a more effective fighting force for the alliance.

U.S. Army Europe and Africa Deputy Commanding General for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs Brig. Gen. Jed J. Schaertl spoke to the significance of Olympic Cooperation and the lasting effects on the U.S. and Greece.

“This interaction signifies just how robust the United States and the Greek ties are,” Schaertl said. “Our shared democratic values are the bedrock of the international relationship that we have within the militaries; the U.S. and Hellenic cooperation are at its most constructive level in years, highlighted by this bilateral military-to-military exercise with the Hellenic Army.”

A Hellenic Army soldier uses concealment to hide his position during the force-on-force portion of Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 9, 2021. The transfer of knowledge and integration of tactics between the U.S. and Greece is essential to maintaining the highest levels of interoperability and readiness possible.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Hellenic Army soldier uses concealment to hide his position during the force-on-force portion of Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 9, 2021. The transfer of knowledge and integration of tactics between the U.S. and Greece is essential to maintaining the highest levels of interoperability and readiness possible. (Photo Credit: Cpl. Max Elliott) VIEW ORIGINAL
Hellenic Army soldiers rappel from a UH-1H Huey helicopter during a joint live-fire exercise for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 15, 2021. Olympic Cooperation is a joint training exercise that highlights the partnership between the U.S. and Greek forces.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Hellenic Army soldiers rappel from a UH-1H Huey helicopter during a joint live-fire exercise for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 15, 2021. Olympic Cooperation is a joint training exercise that highlights the partnership between the U.S. and Greek forces. (Photo Credit: Spc. Michael Baumberger) VIEW ORIGINAL
Hellenic and U.S. Armies come together for a photo following the completion of Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. U.S. rotational forces throughout Europe build readiness, interoperability and trust with NATO allies and partners. Olympic Cooperation 2021 allows participating forces to conduct rigorous training in realistic training environments with NATO allies and partners to ensure they are ready and lethal.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Hellenic and U.S. Armies come together for a photo following the completion of Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. U.S. rotational forces throughout Europe build readiness, interoperability and trust with NATO allies and partners. Olympic Cooperation 2021 allows participating forces to conduct rigorous training in realistic training environments with NATO allies and partners to ensure they are ready and lethal. (Photo Credit: Cpl. Max Elliott) VIEW ORIGINAL

After witnessing the ability of the U.S. forces and the Hellenic Army to integrate, Schaertl spoke to the lasting future between the two nations.

“U.S. Army, Europe, and Africa intend to continue this relationship and the goodwill,” Schaertl said. "Together through further investments and interoperability, collaboration and your regional leadership, we will develop higher collective readiness. This exercise demonstrates just how capable you are and how quickly we and Hellenic forces can integrate and fight together; we are stronger together.”

Throughout the exercise, Soldiers from the U.S. and Hellenic Republic learned from each other through a series of challenging and realistic training events in many environments.

Olympic Cooperation integrated troops at a tank section’s lowest possible tactical level with a wet-gap crossing operation on the Nestos River— days of force-on-force training, live-fire gunnery, and platoon exercises.

U.S. Army Col. Brian McCarthy, commander of 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, said, “Olympic Cooperation has allowed us all to learn more about tactics, techniques and procedures that each of us uses, how we can integrate, and the most important is that we developed at the soldier level an understanding of just how capable each of our forces is.”

Among the principal goals of the exercise was to enable the planning and execution of joint operations at a tactical level. Hands-on training with small elements working together offers a unique perspective. These insights found amongst the soldiers complement the individual training of both armies and lead to integrating different methods, procedures, tools and techniques that develop interoperability between the Hellenic and American armies.

The exercise focused heavily on offensive and defensive operations, with joint forces utilizing armor, mechanized infantry, artillery, helicopters and combat engineers. The Soldiers examined defensive and offensive operations semi-autonomously using DISE (Deployable Instrumentation System, Europe) gear.

DISE is an instrumentation system for Soldiers, their weapons and their equipment. Like MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) gear, Soldiers also wear an array of sensors that allow other soldiers to “kill” them during training. The DISE vest Soldiers wear also includes a Global Positioning System receiver, a computer that identifies the Soldier who wears it, and a radio that broadcasts data about the user to an array of antennas around training ranges.

U.S. Army Col. Brian McCarthy (right), commander of 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, congratulates a soldier with the Hellenic Army during the closing ceremony for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. “Any opportunity we get to work with an ally, we get to learn a little bit more about the tactics, techniques and procedures that each of us use,” McCarthy said.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Col. Brian McCarthy (right), commander of 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, congratulates a soldier with the Hellenic Army during the closing ceremony for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. “Any opportunity we get to work with an ally, we get to learn a little bit more about the tactics, techniques and procedures that each of us use,” McCarthy said. (Photo Credit: Cpl. Max Elliott) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army Soldiers with Charlie Company “Bandidos,” 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and soldiers with the Hellenic Army stand at attention during the opening ceremony of Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 6, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 is a maneuver and live-fire exercise with Greece and the United States to enhance tactical and operational cohesion among both militaries.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Soldiers with Charlie Company “Bandidos,” 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and soldiers with the Hellenic Army stand at attention during the opening ceremony of Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 6, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 is a maneuver and live-fire exercise with Greece and the United States to enhance tactical and operational cohesion among both militaries. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Reynolds) VIEW ORIGINAL
A Hellenic Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter advances on target during the combined arms live-fire exercise for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 is a live-fire and maneuver exercise designed to enhance interoperability between the United States and Greece.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Hellenic Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter advances on target during the combined arms live-fire exercise for Olympic Cooperation 2021 at Petrochori Range, Triantafyllides Camp, Greece, Nov. 16, 2021. Olympic Cooperation 2021 is a live-fire and maneuver exercise designed to enhance interoperability between the United States and Greece. (Photo Credit: Cpl. Max Elliott) VIEW ORIGINAL

Schaertl emphasized the combined aspect of the exercise in his closing remarks at the closing ceremony.

“I cannot tell you the last time I’ve seen so many elements in play,” Schaertl said. “The armor, mechanized infantry, engineers, medical aviation, field artillery and communication systems made this to be just a tremendous exercise and demonstration, and I know it’s just a small sample of what our nations have nailed the training on over the last few weeks.”

After completing Olympic Cooperation, soldiers from both nations can fully appreciate the warfighting capability of each other’s army and equipment. Working together, integrating and successfully training to fight as a single force presented challenges that required patience and communication to overcome. Still, it has left everyone involved stronger, more resilient and better prepared for any challenge that may arise in the future. Exercises like Olympic Cooperation and its real-world results, hands-on training and tactical, low-level joint unit integration are strengthening the NATO Alliance and reinforcing the fact that we are stronger together.