By Maj. Will Griffin (JMRC Public Affairs)December 7, 2011
HOHENFELS, Germany--Maj. Gen. Stefan Vasilev, Bulgarian Land Forces Commander, visited with Bulgarian soldiers assisting in Operational Mentor Liaison Team (OMLT) training at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center on Dec. 2, 2011.
Vasilev, who met with U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling to discuss joint training and exchange opportunities on Nov. 30 in Heidelberg, traveled to JMRC to observe his soldiers as they replicated host nation security forces for the current rotation.
Although Bulgarian troops are in the role of training enablers for the first part of this rotation, they will field two OMLTs to be trained during the second half of the rotation in January.
"Our soldiers have received a lot of good training, especially through the use of simulators and live-firing systems," said Vasilev, who expects the recently signed memorandum of understanding with U.S. Army Europe will build on an already strong bond between the two countries.
"Before the signing of this memorandum, we have had a great relationship, but now our relationship has the opportunity to grow even more," said Vasilev. "We are planning to increase our participation in future rotations here."
Vasilev, while acknowledging the value of training Bulgarian soldiers receive at JMRC, said his troops bring valuable experience to the table, as well.
"Approximately 70% of the [Bulgarian] soldiers training here have experience in Afghanistan or Iraq. We can share our experience with American soldiers…especially the experience of our special operations forces, which have performed very well."
JMRC commander, Col. Jeff Martindale, echoed Vasilev's sentiments.
"The Bulgarian soldiers are well-trained and very professional. As a result of the recently signed agreement, we're looking forward to working with them on a regular basis, both here in Hohenfels and in Bulgaria," said Martindale.
JMRC conducts several OMLT and Police Operational Mentor Liaison Team training rotations each year to prepare U.S. and multinational partner forces for counterinsurgency, combat advisory, and force enabling support operations in Afghanistan. Once trained, these teams will deploy to advise and mentor Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police units.