By Sgt. Jesica Geffre, 116th Public Affairs DetachmentApril 16, 2010
CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo -Swedish servicemembers from Multinational Battle Group Center participated in training and familiarization exercises with Soldiers from Multinational Battle Group East April 12-13.
Approximately 75 service members from MNBG C learned about the MNBG E mission and area of operations, taking part in familiarization patrols in and around Gjilan/Gnjilane and Shtrpce/Strpce. They also went through different stations to become familiar with MNBG E weapons using the Small Arms Virtual Trainer (SAV-T), K9 (dog handler) tactics and helicopter aircraft loading at Camp Bondsteel.
2nd Lt. Travis Hackey, Fargo, N.D., platoon leader for 2nd platoon, Bravo Company, led one of the Swedish platoons through the stations during the exercise.
"The whole focus of the exercise is familiarization with the different sectors so that that a battle group can go to any area of operation in Kosovo and respond effectively."
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Gehrtz, Fargo, N.D., squad leader 2nd platoon, Bravo Company, helped oversee weapons familiarization in the SAV-T. The SAV-T system creates a simulated battlefield environment with scenarios that play out on a screen. Soldiers operate weapons that fire virtual rounds at the target.
"This particular training is very valuable for Soldiers. The simulator enables us to get more training in during a compressed amount of time." Gehrtz said.
Pvt. Max Ravan, Gothenburg, Sweden, really enjoyed the SAV-T portion of the exercise.
"This is very fun; they could put these in arcades," he said. "I've never seen a system like this; it is very realistic and a good way to get comfortable with the weapons before using live rounds."
The K9 portion of the training consisted of dog handlers demonstrating vehicle searches and detaining suspects.
For the detaining segment, volunteers put on a "bite-suit," which is a protective jacket, trousers and helmet that guard the wearer from the dogs' dangerous jaws during the exercise. The volunteers then run from the dog and, upon command, the dog detains the runner by taking hold and pulling the "suspect" to the ground.
Pvt. 1st Class Stefan Kaellman, Stockholm, Sweden, found the experience exhilarating.
"Now that I know how it feels, I wouldn't want to get taken down without the suit," he said. "I can see how effective this tactic would be in an actual situation."
Another segment of the training was airlift training. This helped the MNBG C troops become familiar with loading and unloading a UH-60 Blackhawk. This also included learning about safety precautions to avoid entering areas that are unsafe due to the moving blades and familiarization with the seatbelt operations.
The last aspect of the training was a flight in the Blackhawks to sectors patrolled by MNBG E so that they could familiarize the MNBG C service members with the area.
For many of the Swedes, this was their first time flying in a Blackhawk.
"It was awesome," said Spc. Anton Ceron, Stockholm, Sweden. "This is very interesting for us to work with different nations and get to experience different methods of training."