U.S. and Ukraine flags were lowered last week to mark the end of Rapid Trident, a multinational training in Ukraine.
It featured over 3,700 Soldiers from 14 different nations taking part in a fortnight of training in Yavoriv that included some firsts; the largest U.S. and Ukraine wet gap crossing and the first U.S. and Ukraine live fire exercise.
The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) trained the Armed Forces of Ukraine for months prior to the exercise.
“We came here as mentors,” said Lt. Col. Michael Starz, commander of 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “We take a lot of pride in the fact that Brigades leave to fight in the conflict in the East.”
While most travel back to their region, some will stay as the Ukrainian forces travel east for their ongoing war. The units who participated in the training learned alongside their American counterparts as they bid to transform their Army to meet NATO standards.
“We use sample scenarios, we use multinational (equipment) and we plan future actions together,” said Armed Forces of Ukraine Maj. Artem Karpus, deputy commander of the Civilian Defense Battalion. “We use NATO standards because it is important for us and because we want to be professionals.”
As advisors, U.S. Troops trained the Ukrainians on decontamination of military vehicles, room clearing techniques and medical training. Shots fired in the distance as the medical team composed of U.S. and Ukrainian forces ran to the aid of a simulated casualty and the rest of the squad provided perimeter security.
The exercise concluded with the first ever U.S. and Ukraine live fire demonstration with various vehicles and squad movements. Ukrainian BMP-1s rolled over the vegetation and U.S. high mobility multi-wheeled vehicles guided the uneven terrain providing fire support with M-2 .50 caliber and M-240B machine guns mounted on the turrets.
RT19 was important for the development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and building border defense and multinational interoperability. This will ensure a stronger and more united Europe for the collective defense against all potential adversaries.