Minnesota National Guard conducts react to contact drills with Montenegro Armed Forces


September 12, 2016 (SLUNJ, Croatia) — U.S. and Montenegrin Soldiers tested their ability to perform battle drills that included squad attacks, react to contact, break contact, and react to ambush while supporting Immediate Response 16 at the Croatian Armed Forces training area of Slunj, Croatia.


“Training like IR16 gets the younger Soldiers the experience in a little more than just what we do at home by going to a different country, seeing a different culture, meeting different people, establishing relationships that you would never get if you go overseas,” said Sgt. George Langstaff, a squad leader assigned to the Minnesota National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry.


The exercise and simulations are built upon a decisive action-based scenario and are designed to enhance regional stability, strengthen allied and partner nation capacity, and improve interoperability among partner nations.

Soldiers executed the combined missions with the Montenegrin army soldiers reacting to enemy contact as well as follow-up actions. In doing so the drills enabled them to be able to execute key actions quickly across multinational platforms.


“Different units will have different standard operating procedures and different styles. We’ve already learned a lot from the styles of the Montenegrin soldiers, as well as the Croatians,” said 1st. Lt. John Lesch, Company D executive officer, 2-135 IN. “This is why we’re here, to learn from each other.”


The U.S. Army Europe-led exercise is a multinational, brigade-level command post exercise utilizing computer-assisted simulations and field training exercises spanning two countries, Croatia and Slovenia.


The exercise occurs Sept. 9-23, 2016, and will end with a culmination exercise in which Soldiers of each nation will carry out large-scale operations against opposition forces.


Over the next two weeks more than 1,900 Soldiers and security forces from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States will take part in IR16.


by Staff Sgt. Opal Vaughn
173rd Airborne Brigade Public Affairs