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Hundreds of servicemen and women are in Eastern Europe, familiarizing themselves with a new ally.

Joint Task Force-East — which includes 300 troops from the 3-10 Bulgarian Infantry Battalion — is training from mid-August to Oct. 17 at the Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria. A ceremony was held Sept. 1 to mark the official start of the joint exercise.

"We are trying to enhance the abilities of the Bulgarians and the U.S. to work together," said Army Maj. Jennifer Johnson, the joint task force’s public affairs officer. "We got some things to learn from them and they got some things to learn from the U.S."

The United States and Bulgaria held a similar two-week training exercise last summer called Proof of Principle.

"This year, it’s a bigger rotation [of U.S. troops] and we are staying here two months," Johnson said.

As many as 900 U.S troops will rotate into Bulgaria to participate in the exercise at its highest point, Johnson said.

The training includes urban warfare, countering roadside bombs, live-fire exercises and teaching the Bulgarians to drive Humvees.

The U.S. forces involved in the training include elements of the Utah National Guard; the 5th Battalion 7th Air Defense Artillery based in Kaiserslautern, Germany; and Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, based in Port Hueneme, Calif.


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