Hohenfels, Germany (June 20, 2007) -Representatives from 16 coalition countries gathered at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels June 11-14 to share their knowledge and discover new and better ways to train Soldiers for combat.

The European Combat Training Center Conference was a three-day forum hosted by JMRC for trainers from all over the world. It gave commanders a chance to learn about each country's tactics, techniques and training procedures.

Among the participants were representatives from the Republic of Georgia, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Romania, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Norway, Belgium, Poland, France, Finland, Hungary, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.

During his opening remarks, JMRC Operations Group commander Col. Thomas S. Vandal spoke in great detail about the training environment here at JMRC and ongoing transformation.

"Clearly in U.S. Army Europe, our training missions are always evolving and transforming," Vandal said. "We are developing from a dirt combat training capability to exportable training capability."

Vandal described how the operations group prepares to deploy for a training mission.

"I will pull from the observer controllers. I'll pull from our instrumentation systems. I'll pull from our civilians on the battlefield and I'll pull from our OPFOR, a dual-mission infantry battalion and put together a team that will deploy anywhere," Vandal explained. "We have deployed that capability to Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and we have also sent a team to Afghanistan."

Vandal also talked about the importance of JMRC re-introducing live-fire exercises in a replicated urban environment. According to Vandal, JMRC has brought back live-fire scenarios through the use of wax bullets called Simunitions. Vandal said this new technology allows troops to train in an urban environment with little or no damage to structures or themselves. Simunitions can be fired from a Soldier's weapon just by changing out the bolt.

Throughout the course of the conference, representatives from each of the coalition countries shared their methods of training with the other delegates. Some of the areas touched on included dealing with improvised explosive devices, escalation of force, rules of engagement and building search procedures.

In addition to learning about other methods of training, delegates had the opportunity to describe resources available at their countries' training centers.

This conference was hosted by JMRC in hopes of sharing training knowledge with the partnership nations to ensure all coalition Soldiers receive the training they need to complete their missions.

The importance of sharing information is that it allows coalition partners to train together or under similar conditions developing a common understanding of tactics. Many who attended the conference agreed that Coalition forces meeting in combat for the first time will work better together because they have been trained together.