Serbian troops train with U.S. Army Europe's 172nd Infantry Brigade

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
June 23, 2010

Squad leader Sgt. Anthony Woods of A Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, teaches Sgt. 1st Class Ivan Milojkovic of the Serbian Armed Forces' Cobra Battalion, Special Operations, to use the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during training at the Grafenwoehr (Germany) Training Area, June 15. (Photo by Spc. Bethany L. Little)
Squad leader Sgt. Anthony Woods of A Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, teaches Sgt. 1st Class Ivan Milojkovic of the Serbian Armed Forces' Cobra Battalion, Special Operations, to use the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during training at the Grafenwoehr (Germany) Training Area, June 15. (Photo by Spc. Bethany L. Little)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Soldiers of U.S. Army Europe's 172nd Infantry Brigade helped to build USAREUR's partnerships with its European allies through recent combined training with members of the Serbian Armed Forces at the Grafenwoehr Training Area.

After they completed training in the Warrior Leader Course at the USAREUR's 7th Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy here, several Serbian Soldiers embedded with their counterparts from A Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry to observe the daily activities of American NCOs.

“We tasked the three Soldiers to each of our line platoons so they could see the different jobs that our noncommissioned officers do on a day-to-day basis,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Rogers, headquarters platoon sergeant for A Company.

The Serbian Soldiers observed operations in the unit's maintenance section and participated in range operations and NCO-led training in physical fitness, urban operations Bradley fighting vehicle crew drills, and maintaining and firing the U.S. Army Squad Automatic Weapon. But the visitors said the most important thing they got from their time here was a chance to observe interactions between American Soldiers and NCOs.

“My Soldiers and I observed the different procedures in certain situations that the NCOs here use, as well as how well the NCOs worked with their Soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ivan Milojkovic with Cobra Battalion, Special Operations, Serbian Armed Forces.

“I learned a lot about how the NCOs here worked with their Soldiers while I was here,” said Staff Sgt. Boro Borcic, a paratrooper with the Serbian Armed Forces' Counter-Terrorist Battalion, Special Operations. “The structure is different here than in my battalion. For example, there isn’t a separation of the NCOs and Officers as there is here. A second lieutenant in our battalion acts as a first sergeant does here.”

Sgt. Anthony Woods, a squad leader for A Company, said he believed the training with Serbian troops was a first for his company, and Soldiers from both nations said the experience was worthwhile.

“It was a great experience having them here working with us, and it helped us build a better relationship with the Serbian Soldiers,” Woods said.

“The overall experience here was a great experience and a great honor,” said Milojkovic. “I have learned a great deal that I can pass on to my Soldiers in Serbia, and I would be more than happy to come back to learn more from these NCOs.”

The 1-2nd is part of Task Force 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment.