Approximately 5200 soldiers from 15 nations concluded exercise Allied Spirit 22, led by the Latvian Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade as the at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany from Jan. 11-Feb. 5., 2022. The German Army’s 1st Armored Division provided the higher headquarters for this most recent installment of the Allied Spirit series exercise, developed to enhance NATO and key partner readiness across specified warfighting functions. Participating nations included Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. U.S. units participating included the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas; 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment stationed in Ansbach, Germany; and the 2nd Squadron, 227th General Support Aviation Brigade from Fort Hood, TX.
“The Latvian, German, and American battalions that formed parts of the Latvian Mechanized Infantry Brigade each had unique strengths, capabilities and weaknesses. The brigade commander did a great job of connecting battalion commanders to understand and better leverage the unique capabilities of the battalions while developing operational plans,” said U.S. Army Maj. Edward Gibbons, a 4th Security Forces Assistance Brigade Team Leader embedded within the Latvian brigade.
“The preparations for this exercise took more than a year. The possibility that Allied Spirit offers us, to plan with the commanders of the brigades and battalions in this multinational configuration, to give orders, to see how we tactically work together, is unique. This is a huge enrichment for the management process at the multinational level,” says German Brig. Gen. Heico Hübner, commander of the 1st Panzerdivision.
“We have grown into a task force here during the exercise. Dutch and Latvian engineers and Polish battle tanks support us directly. American battle tanks, German reconnaissance aircraft and Latvian specialists are in our battle sector,” says German Cpt. Sebastian Lauerbach, rear post commander of Panzergrenadierbataillon 401. “The multinational aspect is visible just by looking at the individual soldiers.
“Every rotation we have has ally and partner inclusion, but this is the biggest by far,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jason Turner, JMRC’s chief of plans. “We have four brigades’ worth of combat power here all from different nations with another 5000 soldiers in the training area, in the mud training together. All different nations, all coming together to fight one fight together.”
As the Army’s only overseas Combat Training Center, JMRC is uniquely positioned to host an exercise like Allied Spirit; the training center hosts several large exercises each year bringing together allies and partners to strength and test interoperability between NATO allies and partners. Unlike the two other main exercise series at JMRC where U.S. brigade combat teams are the core of the training audience, Allied Spirit provides an allied brigade as the primary training audience augmented with U.S., allied and partner units. Poland has provided the lead brigade in Allied Spirit 21. The Joint Multinational Readiness Center provides a mobile training capability to Europe that trains leaders, staffs, and units up to Brigade Combat Teams and multinational partners, to dominate in the conduct of Unified Land Operations anywhere in the world. Exercises like Allied Spirit enhance the exchange of ideas, techniques, tactics, and procedures across militaries.