11 Nations, 8,000 service members participate in U.S. Army Europe's first Full-Spectrum Training Environment

Oct. 26, 2011

U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

U.S. Army Europe

US Army Europe MSG Melvyn Lopez, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and SFC Marko Kocovar, Slovenian Armed Forces, discuss the location of a new helipad at their base during the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team's Full Spectrum Training Event being held at Hohenfels Germany. US Army Europe Public Affairs photo by Richard Bumgardner.

HOHENFELS, Germany -- Europe’s first Full-Spectrum Training Environment exercise concluded early Monday morning after elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team conducted an assault on ‘enemy forces’ at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, here.

The FSTE, which began October 5, involved nearly 8,000 service members from 11 different nations and was a shift from traditional mission rehearsal exercises, where counterinsurgency operations were the primary focus.   This exercise incorporated those training elements, but also focused on more traditional roles such as defensive and offensive operations.  

The exercise pitted the Soldiers of the 173rd and other nations against a modern military, equipped with modern surveillance systems such as unmanned aircraft, modern armor and aircraft.  It was a training environment unlike any other experienced by service members in recent years.

"All of the Soldiers involved, from Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, to the fine Soldiers from each of the nations that participated, have made the FSTE a great success," said Maj. Gen. James C. Boozer, U.S. Army Europe deputy commanding general and the exercise senior trainer.  "This exercise shows once again the stellar training opportunities that are afforded here in U.S. Army Europe.  JMRC provides an unmatched level of realism and international participation.   Training of this nature makes having a forward-based presence in Europe a must for the U.S. Army. The partners we train with are the same men and women we expect to serve with in any future crisis.”

Being the first brigade to participate in this unique training environment came with its challenges but the 173rd ABCT commander was proud of his Soldiers performance and their ability to work with partner nations.

"I'm very proud of the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team," said Col. Andrew Rohling, brigade commander. "This is the first brigade-sized airborne operation we've conducted in almost ten years. The paratroopers did an outstanding job, and I'm proud of all of them. I'm especially proud of our junior leaders; the ones that joined after 9/11. They've brought the skills that they've honed throughout numerous deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq to this exercise making them better rounded leaders. This FSTE exercise was a great opportunity for us to work alongside our allies, some of whom we will be serving alongside in a deployed environment in the future."

USAREURs JMTC will continue to use FSTE type of training events to posture the brigade combat teams to effectively respond to a broader range of contingency missions in a complex range of operating environments. FSTE exercises provide a more comprehensive approach training Soldiers and units to fight in the most demanding and complex operating environments alongside our allies and partner nations preventing future conflict through strengthened allies and deterrence while preparing to prevail if called upon.