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    Thunder Touches Down in Germany


    Photo By 2nd Lt. Jarvis Mace | Task Force Thunder, 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), Mississippi Army...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Micah Welch 

    7th Army Training Command

    GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - At a Transfer of Authority ceremony, Task Force Thunder, 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), Mississippi Army National Guard, took command of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U) mission under 7th Army Training Command (7ATC) from Task Force Bowie, 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), Arkansas Army National Guard, on Jan. 5, 2024.

    Task Force Thunder is now responsible for training and mentoring the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the reconstitution training at the Grafenwoehr Training Area located in U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria (USAG Bavaria). The reconstitution training will aid Ukrainian soldiers in improving their abilities at multiple echelons.

    Multiple honorary and special guests were in attendance for the Transfer of Authority ceremony from Task Force Bowie to Task Force Thunder, such as representatives from Security Assistance Group-Ukraine, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, 7ATC, USAG Bavaria, and most importantly, special guests from Ukrainian Armed Forces including Maj. Gen. Oleski Taran.

    During the ceremony, Taran expressed through his translator that he was humbled to be present in Grafenwoehr, Germany, in the place where the really important training events are happening both for Ukrainian forces and U.S. Army. He added that he was most humbled to able to give the word of “ready troops” to the Ukrainian Armed Forces commander-in-chief and wished luck on the future endeavors of the 39th IBCT, and he also wished more luck and fruitful work for the upcoming 155th ABCT.

    “I humbly offer you a simple ‘Thank You,’ on behalf of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, 7th Army Training Command and a grateful nation,” said Brig. Gen. Steven Carpenter, 7ATC commander, to Task Force Bowie.

    “I am convinced that Task Force Thunder will carry the torch forward proudly and continue to enable war-winning readiness for the Ukraine Armed Forces,” he said.

    During the ceremony, Task Force Bowie cased their colors; this signifies the end of their command and duty here. Directly afterwards, Task Force Thunder walked up with Carpenter and uncased their colors, which had been cased before leaving the U.S., in Tupelo, Mississippi. Now, here in Germany, the colors fly free, signifying Task Force Thunder’s duty and time in command has begun.

    “The Bowie Team has been profoundly impacted by our experience here,” said the outgoing commander, Col. Chad Bridges, Task Force Bowie. Bridges held up a small figurine made of rope and the colors of Ukraine. He had been given this doll by Ukrainians to remember the children of Ukraine.

    Speaking directly to the Taran, Bridges said, “We have been privileged to train and support the training of your soldiers over the last nine months.”

    Task Force Bowie, 39th IBCT, is headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The unit had been in command of JMTG-U from April 2023 until January 2024. During their time, the unit oversaw the training of approximately 7,500 Ukrainians in platoons, battalions and brigades; on 26 different U.S. platforms and in classroom training for staff-sized elements like company commanders, platoon leaders, and noncommissioned officers.

    “This mission to me has been the most significant mission I have been on”, said Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Holthusen, senior enlisted advisor for Task Force Bowie, after the ceremony. “The partnership with Ukrainians, their dedication, their work ethic, it has been phenomenal. It’s been an honor and privilege to serve in this position and to work with our Ukrainian counterparts.”

    The Task Force Thunder incoming commander, Col. Michael Dykes, ended the ceremony addressing the 39th IBCT, “Thank you for what you have done.”

    “(To the) 155th, for what we are about to accomplish, it really just comes down to one word, which is victory,” he said. “We are here to ensure the Ukrainian victory. Victory Thunder.”

    Task Force Thunder, 155th ABCT, is headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, and will be the 15th rotation of Army personnel supporting the mission since JMTG-U began in 2015, which has consisting of both active and reserve components.

    JMTG-U is a professional, adaptable, innovative team that trains, mentors, and supports programs of instruction on combined armed operations. Under the guidance of U.S. European Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, and Security Assistance Group-Ukraine, 7ATC leads the training and is supported and supported by a myriad of other organizations from across the U.S. Army. This training of Armed Forces of Ukraine has been conducted in Germany since April 2022.



    Date Taken: 01.05.2024
    Date Posted: 01.05.2024 14:18
    Story ID: 461380

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