Czechs awarded American marksmanship badges

Twenty-eight Czech soldiers from the 7th Mechanised Brigade participated in the Intel Texas joint training exercise at Fort Hood Army Base, August 3rd – 18th. The event was organised by the Texas National Guard.

An American commander instructing Czech soldiers
An American commander instructing Czech soldiers

Czech scouts (reconnaissance soldiers) from three manoeuvre combat battalions of the Brigade were incorporated into the American 72nd Fires Brigade, and immediately began their training with a reconnaissance platoon attached to the rifle battalion. The exercise primarily focused on small arms shooting and the manoeuvring capabilities of different sized teams and squads.

During these live-fire exercises, soldiers are expected to use only American arms. Therefore, the Czech soldiers had to first prove that they were able to safely handle the weapons. This posed no problem for these professionals. By the end of the exercise, each member of the Czech team had earned their proficiency badges with one Czech soldier awarded the highest grade badge, the Rifle Expert Badge.

Another group of Czech soldiers comprising staff officers from the Brigade and other battalions were incorporated into the 56th Rifle Brigade of the Texas National Guard. They carried out various exercises such as staff procedure and policies, decision-making processes, and command and control of units. They also visited a local field prison.

Some of the most memorable experiences were the realistic scenarios; a live fire exercise from a 105mm towed howitzer and an attack operation with the seizure of a compound supported by UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

After the exercise, the Texas Foreign Minister Rolando B. Pablos was given a warm welcome by the soldiers, and, during his talks with them, he reminded them that the Czech Armed Forces is the oldest foreign military partner of the Texas National Guard.

"These exercises, organised by the Texas National Guard, serve as a refresher course for our capabilities and bring with it new experiences and knowledge which will prove beneficial during our future joint engagements with the American Army elsewhere in the world," said Colonel Pavel Lipka, Commander of the 7th Mechanised Brigade.

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By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

August 25, 2017