GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Try carrying a barrel filled with grimy, green liquid across a loosely-constructed plank bridge that’s more than eight feet above the ground. Now, try carrying the same barrel across as part of a diverse ten-soldier team who shares an uncommon language and military culture.
Ten U.S. soldiers from the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, also known as the 18th CSSB, competed with 40 foreign-national soldiers from the Czech Republic and Germany during the Tri-Nation Competition hosted by the Joint Multinational Training Command at training facilities at Grafenwoehr, Germany, and in Hradiste, a location southeast of the Czech Republic close to the border of Slovakia, June 26-28.
"The goal of the competition is to host a two-day, demanding, exercise filled with challenging events to foster teamwork and camaraderie," said Col. Adam A. Loveless, JMTC’s training director and the American host of the competition. "The competition highlights trans-border and civil-military cooperation between the three countries."
The five mixed teams of German, Czech, and U.S. soldiers, a total of 10 soldiers each, competed in a variety of events to test physical and mental strength, marksmanship, and skill at medical tasks, as well as participating in a leader reaction course.
"The goal was to familiarize the multi-national teams with our American weapon systems, which includes the M-16 rifle and the M240 Bravo machine gun [weapons mainly used by the U.S. military, the Army and the Marine Corps] to ensure proficiency," said Staff Sgt. Tim Ramos, JMTC trainer responsible for assisting the teams on the Engagement Skills Trainer, or EST.
Ramos said, communicating with the multi-national audience required him to use charade-like gestures to communicate with those that didn’t speak English. On EST, the Soldiers practiced rifle techniques and marksmanship using laser technology to shoot at a variety of targets in complex scenarios. During the Team Defense live-fire, Soldiers hit range targets, near and far, from a fixed position. During both challenges, the number of targets exceeded the rounds of ammo provided which forced team leaders to guide their teams to aim for only the most dangerous targets to earn the highest scores.
"Yesterday and today we were witnesses of a great competition between soldiers," said Col. Alois Husle, the German Army Commander of Land Forces Bavaria, during the Closing Ceremony. "We saw outstanding performances. Each soldier did his best.”
Husle said, the competition was professionally prepared and organized, “thanks to our American friends."
Following the second round of events at the Hradiste Training Area, the Czech-led team took the overall win, followed by the Bavarian led team. The U.S.-led team took third place.
A ceremony in the Czech Republic marked the end of the event, but the annual competition marked continued cooperation and collaboration between the three nations.
More photos of this event available online at JMTC’s flikr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7armyjmtc/sets/72157630341755744/
For more information or to learn more about Europe’s unique multi-national training mission, please visit the JMTC web site: http://www.eur.army.mil/jmtc.