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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