FAKHRABAD, Tajikistan, July 21, 2017 —
In conjunction with U.S. Central Command’s Regional Cooperation 2017’s command-post exercise held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Soldiers from the Virginia Army National Guard and Tajikistan military conducted a field training exercise, July 17-21, 2017, in Fakhrabad air base, Tajikistan.
Hosted by Tajikistan’s Ministry of Defense, RC 17 is a U.S. led exercise that focuses on counterterrorism, border security and peacekeeping operations. Along with Tajikistan, members from U.S. CENTCOM will train with the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mongolia and observers from Kazakhstan.
“The [Tajikistan service members] come to the table with a level of knowledge that makes the training that much easier to merge and bridge the gap between both doctrines,” U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Sonny Jones, 183rd Regiment, 3rd Battalion non-commissioned officer in charge of the field training exercise. “Sometimes the level of interest we see when training isn’t there, can hinder the overall outcome, and we aren’t seeing that here.”
Areas covered during the five-day joint training comprised of mounted movements, convoy operations, close quarter battle training, raid execution and improvised explosive device detection.
“It’s always important to expose ourselves to other countries and new tactics because we are also learning from them as they’re learning from us,” Jones said. “At the same time it gives us the opportunity to bridge that gap and build that partnership between our countries."
Jones also stated that battlefield medical tasks played a large part in the training.
‘We gave them some individual and buddy aid tasks so they not only know how to take care of themselves, but also take care of their partners to always stay in the fight, he said.”
According to U.S. Army Colonel George Harrington, the lead planner for the Massachusetts National Guard, the purpose of RC 17 and the field training exercise are to learn and develop our partnerships.
“Each year, a group of nations from the Central Asian states and the United States gather in a forum and develop the exercise around themes related to current regional issues,” Harrington said. “The ability for us to come together allows us to learn a great deal from each other’s experiences and best practices for conducting these challenging missions,” he said.
This year more than 200 participants from five nations traveled to Tajikistan to participate in the bi-lateral exercise RC 17 and field training held July 12-21, 2017.