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New York Army National Guard Soldiers pick up mission to train Ukrainian Soldiers

By Eric Durr, New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs July 18, 2017

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- More than two hundred New York Army National Guard Soldiers will be heading to Ukraine in the fall on a nine-month mission to train Ukrainia Soldiers.

Most of the Soldiers will come from the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry based at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The squadron also has units in Jamestown, Geneva, and Buffalo.

The Squadron is part of New York's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Col. Christopher Cronin, the commander of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will command the mission.

The New York Soldiers will become part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.

The training group is tasked with teaching tactics and staff work to five battalions of Ukrainian troops each year at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, near Yavoriv, Ukraine. A battalion is composed of approximately 600 Soldiers.

New York Army National Guard officers and non-commissioned officers skilled in mission planning and staff operations will teach and mentor the staffs of the Ukrainian units. Other non-commissioned officers and officers will work as observer/controllers conducting field exercises for maneuver companies.

The goal is to recreate the combat training center environment like those at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California or the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, at which U.S. Army units hone their skills before deployment.

Last summer the 27th Brigade Soldiers proved their ability to handle a variety of missions during a three-week rotation to the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Cronin said. The center trains infantry units in real-world conditions that include civilian role-players and a well-trained opposing force.

The Soldiers "pushed themselves to their limits," Cronin said, in order to "prepare themselves both individually and collectively for a deployment anywhere in the world."

"Having been selected by the United States Army to fill this vital role in the Ukraine, the Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard are now working diligently in preparation to serve alongside our NATO partners to execute this important mission," Cronin said.

"In the current volatile and complex global environment, this is one more example of the important role the National Guard and our 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team plays in supporting our military engagement around the world," Cronin added.

Training for the Ukrainians will focus on defense and security missions. Other elements are working with the Ukrainian Army on a review and modernization of their doctrine.

Troops from Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland and the United Kingdom are also part of the training mission.

The New York National Guard troops are expected to mobilize in October and report to Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany for specialized training delivered by the 7th Army Training Command. The Grafenwoehr training facility has been used to train American and allied Soldiers since the end of the Second World War.

The New York National Guard contingent will replace a team from the Oklahoma Army National Guard's 45th Brigade Combat Team that has been in the Ukraine since January this year.

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