YAVORIV, Ukraine—Ukrainian Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 80th Airmobile Brigade conducted an air assault mission in conjunction with a situational training exercise, led by U.S. Soldiers from 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Nov. 28, at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center.
The training scenario consisted of a platoon-sized element of Ukrainian Soldiers assaulting from four Mi-8 helicopters during a simulated firefight to relieve Ukrainian forces that were pinned down. Once the area was secured, Ukrainian Soldiers utilizing BTR armored personnel carriers and ZU-23-2 towed antiaircraft weapons provided support in strengthening the defensive perimeter.
“This training is important because it builds confidence in the Ukrainian force’s ability to utilize combined arms maneuver,” said Sgt. Christopher Marinucci, assistant team leader assigned to 6-8 CAV. “We’re working with rotary wing aircraft, armored personnel carriers, dismounted infantry and it’s important for the commander on the ground to be confident working with all the combined elements.”
Prior to conducting the air assault mission, the Ukrainian Soldiers went through several weeks of training to prepare them for a successful mission.
“We started off by doing squad, platoon and company level situational training exercises, medical training, such as first aid and combat life savers course, call for fire procedures, and then went into hot load/cold load procedures for the aircraft before conducting this training,” Marinucci said.
Once the mission was complete, the Ukrainian Soldiers conducted an after action review. The AAR allows Soldiers to understand what went well during the training, and how they can improve the training to obtain better results in the future.
According to Marinucci they teach them the standard Army AAR process, which is extremely effective. They look at each phase of the operation to determine what the initial plan was and what actually happened in order to learn how they could improve for the next training iteration.
Marinucci has been in Ukraine for six months and has formed strong bonds with the Ukrainian Soldiers.
“Some of the Ukrainian Soldiers have told us that we may have been born American but we are definitely Ukrainian at heart, which is a great compliment.”
Soldiers of 6-8 CAV are currently responsible for training Ukrainian ground forces as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine. JMTG-U is training Ukrainian land forces and building a team of Ukrainian cadre who will ultimately assume that responsibility. The training is designed to reinforce defensive skills of the Ukrainian Ground Forces in order to increase their capacity for self-defense.