News: Ironhorse trains alongside their partners
Story by Capt. John Farmer
HOHENFELS, Germany – Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division have spent the past few weeks in Germany honing their combat skills, their military occupational skills and their partnership skills.
First BCT, 1st CD is currently training with 14 other nations here on Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, during the multi-national exercise, Combined Resolve II. The exercise, which lasts approximately 60 days, includes maneuver training, force-on-force combat training and live fire exercises.
Key to the success of this training is the Ironhorse brigade’s ability to partner with the other NATO allies and nations. Tactics, languages, communication systems and culture all play a role in how the Soldiers from different countries work together.
“What we’re trying to do, and where we’ve seen our best results, is putting those groups [of Soldiers] together at the lowest level,” said Col. John DiGiambattista, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “When you put those groups together at the lowest level, Soldiers get to work together, understand each other’s equipment, they understand how they talk, how they think, and how they interact.”
Interaction and partnership is crucial, because for many of these Soldiers, this is their first time working with someone who doesn’t speak their own language. DiGiambattista, a native of Anaheim, California, said that this type of training in an excellent opportunity, which allows Soldiers to work with other nations, build cultural awareness, understanding and interoperability.
To better illustrate the benefits of this training, DiGiambattista provided an example about lieutenants who have fewer than two years in the Army.
“So, 10 years from now [when] they’re majors, they will have already experienced working with multiple different nations and understand that that’s how we fight and that’s how we come together. They’ll be that much better prepared when they’re majors than some of our majors were 10 years ago.”
Several of the young officers in the 1st BCT have not deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan but the experience they gain from the training here in Germany will be invaluable to them in the years to come.
“[Working with other nations] is going to have its frustrations in terms of language barriers, and we have different [tactics, techniques and procedures], and training techniques than they do,” said 1st Lieutenant Harrison Maxwell, the platoon leader for 3rd Platoon, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
“When you get together, there’s a lot of shared knowledge and you realize that they know how to do things; it may be a different way than you do it, but you pick up on things that they do, they pick up on things we do, so everyone’s learning,” said Maxwell, a native of Needham, Massachusetts.
“It should be fun; we can learn off each other and hopefully share some culture as well. It’s a good opportunity for all these guys who’ve never … worked with other nations,” said Maxwell.