JMRC gets new commander
Stars and Stripes
HOHENFELS, Germany — The man who led the 173rd Airborne Brigade to Afghanistan last year has taken charge at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center.
Col. Charles Preysler, who relinquished command of the Sky Soldiers earlier this month, took command at JMRC’s Operations Group on Tuesday.
His new job involves running force-on-force training at Hohenfels for units as large as a brigade. The pre-deployment training can involve thousands of soldiers and role-players interacting in mock towns and cave complexes designed to replicate places in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Preysler said his appointment, which comes at a time when the U.S. is diverting some forces from Iraq to Afghanistan, does not signal that there will be more emphasis on the Afghanistan mission at JMRC.
"It is good to have a broad approach. This place has to train mechanized, armored, light infantry and Strykers. We need to remain adaptable and flexible to meet new challenges," he said.
For example, the 173rd was supposed to go to Iraq and a month later it was switched to Afghanistan, Preysler said.
"There are other challenges beyond Afghanistan and Iraq. There is Kosovo and training our European friends who choose to come here," he said.
The establishment of Africa Command in nearby Stuttgart will likely impact JMRC in the future, Preysler said.
"I would hope that one day we would help train our friends from Africa. I could see that as a potential," he said.
Joint Multinational Training Command chief Brig. Gen. David. R. Hogg, Preysler’s new boss, praised JMRC’s staff of combat veterans and "highly educated" civilians Tuesday and described the organization as "the most sought-after resource in U.S. Army Europe."
Preysler said JMRC provided the 173rd with excellent training before its Afghan mission.
"The training (for the 173rd) that took place here was spot on and saved lives. Now I’m on the other side of the equation I’m committed to bringing the same opportunities to others," he said.
Hohenfels is also home to 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, which has deployed numerous company-sized task forces to Zabul province, Afghanistan, in recent years. Afghan National Army troops are also regular visitors to JMRC, where they train alongside U.S. and partner nations.
JMRC has experienced rapid change in recent years with the creation of more mock towns, introduction of non-lethal ammunition and high-tech training gear that tracks soldiers and equipment and records action through video cameras.
"We are going to use what we have and make it adaptable to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo or whatever the mission is," Preysler said.
JMRC will continue to develop the high-tech training equipment it uses, he said.
"I think it has to. That is how we are fighting. The U.S. Army is going through leaps and bounds as far as new equipment and sophistication goes. We need to keep up with that in the training area," he said.