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    Special Operations, conventional force integration on display at Combined Resolve XII

    Special Operations, conventional force integration on display at Combined Resolve XII

    Photo By Sgt. Patrik Orcutt | Ukrainian Special Forces acts as the OPFOR Aug. 20, 2019 as part of Exercise Combined...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Hughes 

    U.S. Special Operations Command Europe   

    HOHENFELS, Germany – “For what is going on in the east part of my country this exercise is very important,” said a Ukrainian Special Operations team leader referring to the Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with the Russian-led separatist forces in the country’s Donbas region.

    He was participating in Exercise Combined XII Resolve which was a biannual, multinational exercise held from August 11-27, and involved over 5,000 participants and from 20 nations. Approximately 140 special operations forces from five countries participated in the exercise to strengthen the combined, joint war-fighting abilities of NATO Allies and partner forces, and improve the readiness of both SOF and conventional forces.

    “No nation can face today’s challenges alone, and as we’ve seen from recent conflicts, we’re stronger as an Alliance and as a coalition,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Kirk Smith, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Europe.

    The SOF portion of the exercise brought together members of the Lithuanian National Defense Volunteer Forces (KASP), and SOF from Bulgaria, the Republic of North Macedonia, Ukraine, and the U.S. In addition to working with the conventional forces, they focused on core special operations missions such as surveillance and reconnaissance, direct action on targets, and coordinating operations between multiple small teams operating simultaneously.

    For members of the North Macedonian SOF, who attend exercises held at Joint Multinational Readiness Center here on a regular basis, these training opportunities are invaluable.

    “We have the mission of unconventional warfare, and allowing freedom of movement for the conventional forces,” explained a North Macedonian SOF team leader.

    A veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the team leader said the training closely mimicked the combat situations he had seen fighting alongside NATO forces there.

    “Every year we come here to Hohenfels and it is a great opportunity to train in a multinational environment,” he said. “It improves our partnership and the way to (become part of) NATO.”

    The North Macedonians worked alongside their Bulgarian, U.S. and Lithuanian partners as the SOF contingent of the larger force-on-force exercise. Their goal was to improve coordination between conventional forces and provide unique special operations capabilities to the combined joint force.

    Meanwhile, the Ukrainians SOF, who were attending the exercise for only the second time, was selected to be part of the opposing force. This decision was made to draw on their recent combat experience, which gave relevance to the battlefield scenario, by giving the opposing force a SOF asset to enhance their capabilities and even the playing field, according to the commander of the JMRC SOF Cell.

    In addition to the dynamics on the battlefield, the SOF cell introduced its own multinational Observer Trainer Coach academy to prepare for the exercise. This academy helps prepare the OCTs, or embedded trainers on the ground who help facilitate the exercise and coach the soldiers in the exercise.

    The academy was the innovation of one of the SOF cell’s newest members, who saw the need to create the academy.

    “With the specialized mission set and training that the SOF cell provides at JMRC, it was necessary to have an OCT academy specialized and formatted in a comparably unique way,” said the JMRC SOF Cell Operations NCO. “This helps the OCTs maximize the training value throughout the exercise.”

    The JMRC SOF Cell support all U.S. and multinational SOF training at the Joint Multinational Training Center. It promotes interoperability between U.S. and their multinational partners, as well as intergrading SOF unique capabilities during training with the conventional forces.

    The exercise culminated with a large operation that included all of the SOF elements working together to conduct a raid, as a final test of the skills and relationships they built over the previous 16 days.

    “Coming from a country that is about to join NATO, and become a full member, I could not have asked for a better opportunity to strengthen and establish the relationships from past deployments and training, and deepen and increase those relationships,” said Brig. Gen. Hadji-Janev, the commander of the Republic of North Macedonia’s Special Operations Regiment.



    Date Taken: 08.27.2019
    Date Posted: 09.20.2019 04:56
    Story ID: 342443
    Location: HOHENFELS, BY, DE 

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