US Marines train Georgian soldiers for a deployment to Afghanistan
By MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 15, 2017
HOHENFELS, Germany — U.S. Marines are training with Georgian soldiers in Germany this week to prepare for a deployment to Afghanistan.
The platoon-size element of Marines, comprising active and reserve units, is assisting the Georgian Army’s 31st Light Infantry Battalion during its deployment to secure Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
The 15-day mission rehearsal exercise, which ends on Aug. 22, is the final step to certifying the Georgian unit is ready to deploy with coalition forces in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
The training simulates the obstacles and stresses they may encounter while in Afghanistan, such as clearing improvised explosive devices, evacuating casualties and fighting in an urban environment.
“The facility here (in Hohenfels) is a world-class training center,” said Col. John Schaar, commanding officer of the Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group. “This is as close as you can possibly get to feeling like you’re in Afghanistan. It is credit to what the Army has built here in Europe.”
In the final stage of training, which begins on Wednesday, the troops will face constant challenges and harassment by mock enemy Taliban insurgents.
“We add a lot of stress to them,” Schaar said. “We know these seven days are going to have more action than they’re likely to see during their whole deployment, but we want them to be prepared for anything.”
A Georgian soldier provides first aid to an American soldier during training in Hohenfels, Germany, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. The 15-day mission rehearsal exercise, which ends on Aug. 22, is the final step to certifying the Georgian unit is ready to deploy with coalition forces in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
MARTIN EGNASH/STARS AND STRIPES