188th Infantry Brigade supports Agile Spirit 23

By Staff Sgt. Justin McClarranSeptember 14, 2023

Fort Stewart, Ga.- Soldiers assigned to 188th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, recently deployed to the Republic of Georgia in support of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s rotation at Agile Spirit 23.

Agile Spirit 23 supports theater security cooperation and interoperability among NATO allies and partners to improve the joint and multinational capability of rapidly deploying forces from across Europe to Georgia.

with the goal is to bolster defense efforts and deter aggression in the Black Sea region while also exercising the enduring U.S. State Partnership Program between Georgia and the Georgia Army National Guard.

As part of the large-scale operation the exercise also enhanced the partnership between 3rd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, and their partner Observer, Coach/Trainers, or OC/Ts, from 3rd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 188th Infantry Brigade.

“Our task in support of Operation Agile Spirit was to provide external evaluation to the Pathfinders of 3-121 Infantry as well as to conduct instrumented After Action Reviews with support from the 7th Army Training Command, who provided the system requirements,” said Capt. Brian Tierce, team officer in charge, 3-395th Inf. Regt. “The intent was to make the training rotation resemble a combat training center rotation as closely as possible to provide the most realistic training as possible for all the units involved.”

Agile Spirit began in 2011 and in 2015 there were only six partners. This year more than 3,500 troops from 21 NATO and allied countries participated in the exercise, such as Germany, Romania, Great Britain, Belgium, and Azerbaijan. Approximately 1,200 of those service members came from the United States.

During the exercise the OC/T package from the 3-395th embedded with several partner forces throughout the duration of the event.

“Being able to embed with and provide feedback throughout the entire planning process and follow the mission through execution with our partner forces was a great experience for myself and the other OC/Ts that had this opportunity,” said Sgt. 1st Class Steffan Ahrens, team noncommissioned officer in charge, 3-395th. “I was able to observe members of the 12th Close Combat Support Squadron of the British Armed Forces and the experience allowed me to gain a greater understanding of their Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, or TTP’s, and to impart on them how American Forces attack those same problem sets.”

The brigade-level exercise featured field training and live-fire demonstrations, as well as various response scenarios to simulate a realistic combat training environment. United States units that also participated included the 173rd Airborne Brigade, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 54th Security Forces Assistance Brigade, 122nd Tactical Support Detachment, and U.S. Special Forces Command Europe.

Critical training for the exercise also included a brigade-level command post exercise with NATO Multinational Division Southeast, a brigade-level field training exercise, and a combined battalion-level joint forcible entry into Turkey featuring the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The exercise also features unit-level training to include battalion live-fire and field training exercises, combined special forces operations, combined medical and protection training, and other live fire exercises executed throughout multiple locations within the country.

“We felt honored to be requested to support such a high visibility exercise and lend our expertise as OC/Ts to this mission set,” said Capt. John Hellinger, team officer in charge, 3-395th. “The concept of an external evaluation isn’t something that our partner forces get to see as part of their Armed Forces, so to embed OC/Ts with British, Georgian, and Bulgarian Armed Forces was a learning and sharing experience for everyone involved.”