The Ukrainian army, with the assistance of U.S. and multinational partners, continues to strive to improve the capability and capacity within its armed forces. Approximately 20 Ukrainian cadre recently completed their first rotation training Ukrainian Soldiers on individual combat skills at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center.
The training is part of the ongoing operations of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U). The JMTG-U mission is focused on building a sustainable, enduring combat training center here. Part of this mission includes building training capacity quickly through the consolidation and resourcing of dedicated training cadre.
These instructors are the first group of cadre trained on conducting the first six modules of a nine-week rotational training set. The modules include weapons training, land navigation, combat lifesaving skills, and section live-fire. Soldiers of 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division certified the instructors by observing and gauging their ability to put the six modules into action and effectively train other Ukrainian Soldiers.
Spc. Brett Jones, a rifleman assigned to 6-8 Cav., is a fourth generation veteran and is excited to be able to continue the family tradition. Jones said that he is optimistic about training alongside the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
«Every time we go out and observe the Ukrainian Soldiers, they do the training to a T», said Jones. «They are very hands on with the training and make sure each Soldier knows how to effectively do each task to standard».
Staff Sergeant Alex Fernandez, a squad leader and instructor assigned to 6-8 Cav. spent two years as a drill sergeant and was able to use the skills he acquired to ensure the Ukrainian instructors were fully up to speed on training their Soldiers on individual tasks.
«They have always been comfortable teaching the Soldiers, but now I feel they are more confident with their teaching techniques», said Fernandez. «They have built that trust and bond with the Soldiers and they listen to the instructors when given instructions».
After the training has been conducted, the Soldiers from 6-8 Cav. pull the Ukrainian instructors aside and brief them on their performance during the exercise.
According to Jones the Ukrainian Soldiers respond well when they receive praise, validation and feedback from the multinational force trainers. «They do training by the book and listen to recommendations that we make», he said.
First Lieutenant Taras Tanailov, an instructor assigned to the Combat Training Center mentored the newly graduated Ukrainian instructors over the past three weeks. Tanailov has been with the instructors since they were certified to teach and observed the progression in their ability to train Soldiers.
Tanailov said that over the last few weeks his instructors had learned a lot about leading and training Soldiers. He said that they are more confident in the training, which allows them to be more effective leaders.
Captain Abdullah H. Clark, company commander for Charlie Troop, 6-8 Cav., had the opportunity to observe the Ukrainian instructors and was able to view military tactics from a different perspective.
«So far I’ve learned a different method of every aspect of military affairs from logistics to tactics to unofficial dynamics of the social system», said Clark. «They have taught me a different way to run things other than the way we normally do for our military».
The ultimate goal of the JMTG-U is to establish a sustainable Combat Training Center staffed and led completely by the Ukrainian military.
«I think if we left here today, they would do everything they need to do to train their military», said Jones. «I definitely think they are doing a good job».
Now that the initial six modules are complete, the Ukrainian instructors will move on to learn the next two modules, which is a milestone for the JMTG-U. This marks the first time Ukrainian instructors will learn modules seven and eight, which include squad, section and platoon collective tasks.