Tuesday, September 22, 2015

173rd Airborne in Ukraine; to expand mission this fall

173rd Airborne in Ukraine; to expand mission this fall: Troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade have begun their third rotation in Ukraine, and the U.S. soldiers are planning a new training regimen to better hone the skills of the country's active-duty force.

The U.S. and Ukrainian Ministry of Defence have created a two-month-long block of instruction as their guide to certify more trainers, said Lt. Col. Michael Kloepper, commander of 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade.

“They’re learning a lot in terms of how to counter drones and tanks and artillery,” Kloepper told Army Times.

The exercise, Fearless Guardian, has the same goal as previous rotations, to contribute to stability operations in eastern Ukraine.

But the training this fall will go a step further to simulate training under “increasingly complex conditions” for Ukraine’s security forces, Kloepper said, in an audio-recorded statement to Army Times.

“We anticipate the army forces showing up ... for a pretty rigorous program of instruction,” he said Sept. 21, six days into the latest rotation in Yavoriv.

Training for active-duty Ukrainian troops will begin in November.