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    US Soldiers Participate in Annual Kyiv Games


    Photo By Sgt. Alexander Wilkinson-Johnson | Trophies for each competition lie dormant, awaiting their respective winners, at the...... read more read more

    LVIV OBLAST, Ukraine – Over 20 American Soldiers from Task Force – Juvigny, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team participated in the 11th Kyiv Games, hosted at the Ukrainian Armed Forces National Defense Academy of Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, 12 - 14 Feb. 2020.

    The Kyiv Games are a combination of various sports hosted by the UAF annually in Kyiv, Ukraine. Sports in the Kyiv Games include table tennis, swimming, pistol shooting, billiards, badminton, chess, and futsal. In this year’s events, competitors from the United States, Canada, Britain, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, and other partner nations competed against one another to place highly in one of the largest competitions within Ukraine.

    In addition to the partner nations competing in the Kyiv Games, the UAF hosted many branches of their military. The UAF National Defense Academy of Ukraine had a strong chess player; the Security Services of Ukraine took first place in pistol shooting; even the UAF General Staff had a high-placing futsal team. Most UAF services present had teams in multiple events.

    Diverse branch participation provides the UAF with the opportunity to internally network. “I think [the Kyiv Games] gives [the UAF] the chance to network internally, so that the General Staff can talk to their Navy, Special Operations Forces, and so on. It really opens the door to other, more important discussions,” said Maj. Bailey, a badminton competitor and the U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine and Defence Reform Advisory Board Liaison Officer.

    The Kyiv Games also provides the UAF and partner nations with the opportunity to network internationally and to build relationships with multinational service members. “It’s important to build relationships with other countries,” says MCpl. Helen Lam, a Canadian Armed Forces Advisor and table tennis competitor. “Sports are a good way to connect people, especially with everyone from different trades and backgrounds. And you might meet people you would otherwise never meet!” Lam competed against Spc. Jackson Knott, a TF – Juvigny Combat Medic, in table tennis.

    Maj. Derrick Damgaard, a badminton competitor and the Op ORBITAL senior Danish and International LNO, shares Lam’s sentiments, stating that it is important to “meet someone you otherwise wouldn’t talk to,” and equally as important to network with other multinational service members, so that “we can get to talking about things and understanding [Ukrainian] culture.”

    Lt. Col. Salov Andrii, a National Defense Academy of Ukraine Advisor and Kyiv Games LNO, further elaborated on multinational relationship building through the use of sports during the Kyiv Games by stating that “sports is nice in where we can avoid common communication problems.” Andrii jokingly added, “Use body language… or communicate with the ball!”

    Multi-branched events are common occurrences in the UAF. Clear and fluent communication is important to the success of the organization; Andrii explains that “Another way [the UAF] is trying to communicate within our forces is to conduct Command Staff Exercises so that we combine everyone and analyze and improve the best practices at these events.” Similar to JMTG-U’s mission of strengthening partnerships, the UAF uses command staff exercises to build inter-branch cohesion and internal partnerships throughout all levels of leadership.

    Sgt. Alexander Wilkinson-Johnson is attached to the Task Force – Juvigny, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team public affairs office in Ukraine. Sgt. Wilkinson-Johnson documents Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine’s interactions with partner nations through videography and photography. For more information on JMTG-U’s activities in Ukraine, follow us on social media @JMTGUkraine @32ndIBCT @7thATC



    Date Taken: 02.14.2020
    Date Posted: 03.10.2020 04:53
    Story ID: 364846
    Location: KYIV, UA

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