For the first time in nearly 15 years, 7th Army Training Command's Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) will soon begin observing, coaching and training soldiers using the FIM-92 Stinger Man-Portable Air Defense Missile System during future exercises.

In preparation for this, approximately 50 Observer Coach/Trainers, known as OC/Ts, attended their own training on the Stinger system at the Hohenfels Training Area, Jan. 10.

"Getting Europe stood up with short-range air defense (SHORAD) Stinger teams is his first priority inside the initiative of getting Stinger teams back online," said Lt. Col. Aaron Felter, the director of training and doctrine for the Air Defense Integrated Office. "We're going to go to the National Training Center and the Joint Readiness Training Center, however, the immediate focus is Europe and getting Europe ready to fight tonight and defend Europe against any adversary."

In the past 15 years, the Army slowly drifted away from the FIM-92 Stinger, an infrared homing surface-to-air missile that has been around since the late 1970's. Instead, the focus shifted to counterinsurgency tactics.

"Bringing back the Stinger addresses a self-identified gap that the Army created and has recognized," added Felter. "We're getting back to the basics and providing short range air defense to maneuver units."

Some of the soldiers who have received this training include personnel from 173rd Airborne Brigade and 2nd Cavalry Regiment who recently took a five-week Stinger course with the 7th Army Training Command at Grafenwoehr, Germany. Soon, many of those same soldiers and others will be observed, coached and trained during their participation in future exercises at JMRC.