Soldiers of the Ohio Army National Guard’s 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) partnered with Hungarian Defence Forces during their monthlong training at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). For nearly two weeks, members of the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team trained alongside their counterparts from Hungary in a partnership that began in 1993 as part of the Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program. As part of the bilateral exercise, about 130 HDF members trained alongside the 37th IBCT Soldiers and units from several other National Guard states on large-scale combat operations.
Cpl. Jacob East, a signal support system specialist radio operator with the 37th IBCT, drilled with the Hungarian soldiers and said he was impressed with their interactions. “The Hungarian forces are allies, and they are very supportive and helpful. They are 110%. They provided our security and they did everything they could to secure us,” East said. “They wanted to continuously pull security for me even though we were in a safe zone, and not just me but our entire team.”
“It is a very great exercise. We learn a lot from each other. The climate’s very different from my country, so I had to adapt to this, but we are doing our best. I am a squad leader here of the Hungarians, and my favorite part is actually when we do our job and we have to do our best and we can do our best, in every circumstance. I know I’ve bettered myself through this, and I hope that everybody is getting at least half of what I’m getting from this training. It’s going to be good for me to pass this on to future Soldiers, whether they be uniforms or anyone else,” said Sgt. Zsolt Lazar, an instructor for the Hungarian Defence Forces.
Participants training at the JRTC, which offers one of the most rigorous training environments for U.S. and foreign military units, displayed great resilience. The 28-year partnership between Ohio and Hungary has developed lasting friendships through multiple exchanges each year at locations across Europe and North America. The 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Buckeye) is an infantry brigade combat team of the United States Army National Guard with the brigade headquarters, cavalry squadron, infantry battalion, field artillery battalion, engineer battalion, and support battalion stationed in Ohio, infantry battalion and military intelligence company stationed in Michigan, and a third infantry battalion stationed in South Carolina.