U.S., Slovenian troops train, learn together during two-week combined exercise

June 29, 2011

U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

U.S. Army Europe

Photo credit Sgt. Joel Salgado

OSTONJA TRAINING AREA, Slovenia – Atop a Slovenian Valuk armored personnel carrier, Staff Sgt. Alejandro Reyna, a platoon sergeant with U.S. Army Europe's Charlie Company, 1st Battalion 4th Infantry Regiment (second from left) directs his Slovenian partners during a combined company field training exercise here, June 23. The 1-4th Soldiers trained as part of a mixed company with the Slovenian Armed Forces' 1st Company, 20th Motorized Battalion during the partnership exercise that helped to evaluate the Slovenian forces before they head to USAREUR's Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany in October for their final evaluation.

POSTOJNA, SloveniaSoldiers with U.S. Army Europe’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment from Hohenfels, Germany spent two weeks here training with troops from the Slovenian Armed Forces’ 1st Company, 20th Motorized Battalion.

Exercise participants said the combined forces worked hard to overcome the language barrier and differences in tactics to perform numerous tasks and battle drills and complete a company-level FTX, or field training exercise.

“The soldiers and some of the noncommissioned officers have overcome the language barrier and it was challenging for them,” said 1st Lt. Rok Kovse, executive officer for the Slovenian company. “During this exercise we overcame this challenge and people started working together and understanding each other and using the same tactics, which was shown when we did the FTX.”

The training also gave the USAREUR Soldiers a rare chance to try out some Slovenian weapons and equipment such as the F2000S, the standard rifle for Slovenian forces; the RGW rocket launcher; and the Valuk armored personnel carrier.

“This is a great opportunity to see how our allies train. This gives us a chance to train on some of the basic infantry tasks (together),” said 1st Lt. Wesley McCullough, platoon leader for the 1st platoon of the 1-4th. “Everyone learned a lot.”

The training was part of annual training and certification for the Slovenian unit and is being used to prepare the company for an exercise in Hohenfels later this year.

“The training that we conduct together helps us improve procedures, and as a result our deployments are much better,” said Capt. Andrej Krivec, commander of the 1st Company. “Sharing the experience and the procedures was the best.”

The 20th Motorized Battalion, formed in 1992, is composed of three motorized companies, a mortar company and a headquarters logistics company. Together they have trained with members of the U.S., Hungarian, and Italian armies and continue to participate in combat and peace support operations and offer assistance in natural and other disasters in support of NATO.

“This was really great,” said Staff Sgt. Alejandro Reyna, platoon sergeant for the 1st platoon of the 1-4th, has trained with NATO forces before. He rated the training here alongside Slovenian partners as top-notch.

“This was really great,” Reyna said. “This is what we’re here for, to train and learn.”

For more photos, visit the U.S. Army Europe's Flickr page.