Texas Army National Guard Green Berets mentor U.S., Albanian and Lithuanian forces during Allied Spirit VIII

Story by Sgt. Karen Sampson

U.S. Special Operations Command Europe

05. 01. 2018 – Allied Spirit was a multinational exercise involving approximately 4,100 participants from 10 nations at 7th Army Training Command’s Hohenfels Training Area. The U.S. Army Europe-directed multinational exercise series Allied Spirit is designed to develop and enhance NATO and key partner’s interoperability and readiness.

The Texas Army National Guardsmen from 19th SFG(A) augmented the OCT team from U.S. Special Operations Command Europe and the JMRC Special Operations Forces Cell. OCTs acted as on-the-ground trainers supporting SOF and conventional forces during training exercise Allied Spirit VIII conducted January 15 through February 5.

The 19th SFG(A) team mentored a diverse group including U.S. SOF assigned to 1st SFG(A), Albanian SOF, and the Lithuanian National Defence Force Volunteers (KASP).

“Being an OCT assisting in unit tactical development, bridging the units together and integrating them into action was a great experience,” said a 19th SFG(A) team sergeant. “Everyone gained from completing the exercise.”

The Texas-based Green Berets were particularly impressed by the performance of their Lithuanian Allies.
“Lithuania’s KASP trained smart, were decisive and their tactics were sound,” said the team sergeant.
The opportunity to observe and train other U.S. Special Forces Soldiers provided a training opportunity for the 19th SFG(A) OCTs, challenging them to remain experts in their doctrine.

“We drew upon their knowledge of Unconventional Warfare from the Special Forces Qualification Course and combined it with the training and deployment experience to provide training feedback to [the ODA from 1st SFG(A)],” said the 19th SFG(A) officer in charge of operations.

TXARNG OCTs reinforced the concept of “free play” during Allied Spirit VIII to the greatest extent possible to meet the rotational training unit’s training objectives.

“This experience was worthwhile as a guest OCT because you get to evaluate another unit’s tactical training and standard operations and witness what works for them,” said the operations OIC. “As a Special Forces Soldier, observing a [team] from another group gives you the perspective they have from their area of responsibility and strengthens your unit\s repertoire.”

An Albanian Special Operations Forces Soldier participates in virtual call for fire training ahead of Allied Spirit VIII at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, January 19, 2018. Allied Spirit VIII was a multinational exercise which integrated special operation forces and conventional forces from ten nations, improving combined interoperability and interdependence. (U.S. Army photo by SGT Karen Sampson)

U.S. Special Operations Forces, Albanian SOF and Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces (KASP) conduct a combined operations order during Allied Spirit VIII at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, January 20, 2018. Allied Spirit VIII was a multinational exercise that integrated multinational special operation forces and conventional forces, training towards combined interoperability and interdependence. (U.S. Army photo by SGT Karen Sampson)

Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces (KASP) simulate an ambush on armored vehicles with anti-armor weapons during Allied Spirit VIII at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, January 28, 2018. Allied Spirit VIII was a multinational exercise which integrated special operation forces and conventional forces from ten nations, improving combined interoperability and interdependence. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Benjamin Haulenbeek)

U.S. Special Operations Forces and Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces (KASP) Soldiers engage simulated enemy forces during a patrol while participating in Allied Spirit VIII at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, February 1, 2018. Roughly 4,100 troops from 10 nations are participated in Allied Spirit VIII, a multinational training exercise designed to test participants’ readiness and capabilities. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Benjamin Haulenbeek)

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