172nd Inf. Bde. builds partner capacity in Europe

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GRAFENWOEHR, Germany- Sgt. Anthony Woods, squad leader, A Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, teaches the Serbian Soldiers how to disassemble and reassemble the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Bethany L. Little)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany- Sgt. 1st Class Jason McMillen, platoon sergeant, A Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, teaches Sgt. 1st Class Ivan Milojkovic, counter-terrorist, Cobra Battalion, Special Operations, Serbian Armed Forces, how to use the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during a range held here, June 15. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Bethany L. Little)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The 172nd Infantry Brigade is helping to build allied partner capacity within Europe through joint training here.

Upon completing the Warrior Leader Course, Soldiers from the Serbian Armed Forces embedded with the Soldiers of A Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, Task Force 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, to observe daily operations as a non-commissioned officer.

“We tasked the three Soldiers to each of our line platoons so they could see the different jobs that our non-commissioned officers do on a day-to-day basis,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Rogers, headquarters platoon sergeant, A Co., 1st Bn., 2nd Inf. Regt.

The Serbian Soldiers experienced the U.S. Army’s way of life by stepping into the day-to-day operations in the maintenance section and participating in range operations. But most importantly, they were able to observe interactions between Soldiers and NCOs.

“My Soldiers and I observed the different procedures in certain situations that the NCOs here use, as well as how well the NCOs worked with their Soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ivan Milojkovic, counter-terrorist, Cobra Battalion, Special Operations, Serbian Armed Forces.

While embedded with the Soldiers of A Co., the Serbian Soldiers participated in NCO led classes; physical fitness training; urban operations; Bradley crew drills; and disassembling, assembling and shooting the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

“I learned a lot about how the NCOs here worked with their Soldiers while I was here,” said Staff Sgt. Boro Borcic, counter-terrorist paratrooper, Counter-Terrorist Battalion, Special Operations, Serbian Armed Forces.

“The structure is different here, than in my battalion, for example there isn’t a separation of the NCOs and Officers as there is here. A second lieutenant in our battalion acts as a first sergeant does here,” explained Borcic. 

The Serbians were not the only ones to benefit from the combined training.

“This is the first time our company has ever worked with the Serbian Soldiers,” explained Sgt. Anthony Woods, squad leader, A Co., 1st Bn., 2nd Inf. Regt. “It was a great experience having them here working with us, and it helped us build a better relationship with the Serbian Soldiers.”

Mirroring this sentiment, the Serbian Soldiers believed that they had benefitted from the cross-training experience.

“The overall experience here was a great experience and a great honor,” said Milojkovic, a native of Smederevo, Serbia. “I have learned a great deal that I can pass on to my Soldiers in Serbia, and I would be more than happy to come back to learn more from these NCOs.”

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-In front of a color detail with the national colors of America and the Republic of Georgia and the unit colors of the U.S. Marine Corps and Georgian military, Maj. Eric J. Andersen, executive officer Black Sea Rotational Force 11 and Kent, Wash., native,  â?forms the troops for the opening ceremony of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011, marking the official start of what is scheduled to be an annual training event with the partner nation. Marines with Alpha Company of Anti-Terrorism Battalion, and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Georgia for their annual training to supplement the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployment of BSRF-11, to conduct counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training at Vaziani Training Area. , Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

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Capt. Barbara Bujak, physical therapist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, speaks in her native tongue, Polish, with members of Multinational Battle Group East's Polish Contingent and European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. Bujak, who was born in Poland, moved to the U.S. at age 11 and joined the U.S. Army five years ago. Bujak's temporary assignment at Camp Bondsteel allowed her to experience a familiar ceremony in a new location.

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SOLNOK, Hungary — During the Ohio National Guard's Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) homecoming ceremony here Aug. 15, Maj. Gen. Gregory L. Wayt, Ohio's adjutant general, presented Capt. Robert H. Paley with an award for his hard work and dedication. The team spent the last year working together with Hungarian soldiers training the Afghan National Army forces. (Department of Defense photo by 1st Lt. Nicole Ashcroft)

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