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    Thunderbirds train with Latvian army during Allied Spirit VI

    Thunderbirds train with Latvian army during Allied Spirit VI

    Photo By Maj. Josh Page | Guardsmen from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 45th Field Artillery Brigade,...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Josh Page 

    45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

    Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have joined with troops from 12 nations for a multinational operation in southeastern Germany.

    More than 50 Oklahoma Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 45th Field Artillery Brigade, the 125th Weather Flight, and the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron are participating in Allied Spirit VI, a multinational exercise involving over 2,700 participants from 12 nations at the 7th Army Training Command’s Hohenfels Training Area. For this exercise, Oklahoma Guardsmen are functioning as a division headquarters for the 1st Infantry Brigade, Latvian Army. The multinational exercise is designed to prepare NATO allies and partners for operating, solving problems, and communicating together across a wide array of equipment and systems. It also serves as a great training opportunity for the 45th IBCT brigade staff.

    “This annual training gives us a chance to step back and see things from the next higher level,” said Col. Chris Chomosh, commander of the 45th IBCT. “It’s a great opportunity to work alongside our multinational partners and train with some capabilities we don’t normally have at the brigade level.”

    Allied Spirit VI highlights another trend – increasing use of the National Guard and Reserves to augment U.S. Army operations. In addition to the Oklahoma National Guard, guardsmen from Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana and Michigan, as well as Army Reserve units from Minnesota and North Carolina are augmenting the command and control, public affairs, maintenance, medical, engineer, and civil affairs capabilities for this exercise.

    Nearly a quarter of the U.S. contingent in Allied Spirit VI are reservists performing their annual training, providing a vital role in boosting the capabilities of the land force.

    “National Guard and Reserve support is huge,” said Sgt. 1st Class Donald Rummage, the Division Operations Center noncommissioned officer in charge, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, 7th Army Training Command and native of Atwood, Tennessee. “Significant parts of our opposing forces, observer controller trainers, and over half of our division controllers have come from the Guard. Some of the best observer controller trainers I’ve ever worked with have been guardsmen.”

    With increased reservist participation in U.S. Army Europe activities, opportunities for guardsmen to develop multinational relationships has also increased. For this exercise, multiple areas of the division staff have been augmented with Latvian liaison officers, and the working relationship has been especially effective in the division intelligence section.

    “Getting an understanding of the approach the Latvians take to intelligence gathering, and realizing that, other than some different terminology, we approach things very similarly is awesome,” said Staff Sgt. Todd Anderson, an intel analyst for the 45th IBCT from Lantana, Texas. “The insight the Latvian analysts have been able to provide of their capabilities has been really helpful. They are a vital part of our battle rhythm and responsible for some important products.”

    “Being able to partner with other NATO nations, and see everything we’ve been training in Latvia working in this exercise has been great,” added 1st Sgt. Dainis Gudermanis, a staff assistant with the J2 Intelligence Branch of the NATO Force Integration Unit Latvia, and a division intel analyst for this exercise.



    Date Taken: 03.17.2017
    Date Posted: 03.19.2017 09:16
    Story ID: 227233
    Location: HOHENFELS, BY, DE 

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    Thunderbirds train with Latvian army during Allied Spirit VI