News: US, Bulgarian forces practice military operations in urban terrain
Story by Spc. Sophia Klevemann
NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria — U.S. Army Tennessee National Guardsmen and Bulgarian land forces executed tactical military operations in urban terrain, Aug. 14 and 15. This is part of Joint Task Force-East, a training exercise used to demonstrate capabilities of both nations and how each contributes to the collective defense of the region.
Service members of the U.S. Army 1-181st Field Artillery Battalion and Bulgarian land forces 4th Artillery Regiment practiced clearing buildings to ensure they are empty of enemy threats, gaining position over them and saving hostages. The units were integrated throughout the training compelling them to learn how to overcome the language barrier.
"Communication is critical in every phase of it," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth Sheets about the training. "The biggest obstacle was the language barrier but over time we learned how to talk through codes and hand signals."
Language aside, both units worked through the simulated instruction and felt this combined training is helpful for future deployments.
"These are real situations that exist in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Bulgarian land forces Cpl. Ivan Kostadinov who was deployed to Bosnia earlier this year and faces a possible deployment to Afghanistan in the next few years. New to this training, Kostadinov felt an important part was the after action discussions, which bring a better understanding to the training situation.
Military operations in urban terrain is also a standard premobilization course for most U.S. Army National Guard units.
"As National Guard units, it's great to know this because it's still the primary mission in the Afghanistan region," said Sheets of the training, who has deployed once to both Kuwait and Iraq.