U.S. troops partner with Kiwi’s for Lightning Strike

| October 10, 2014 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Christopher Hammond, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs U.S. and New Zealand soldiers became familiar with each other’s weapons systems and cultures as part of exercise Lightning Strike in Waiouru, New Zealand, Sept. 26.

Sgt. Christopher Hammond, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
U.S. and New Zealand soldiers became familiar with each other’s weapons systems and cultures as part of exercise Lightning Strike in Waiouru, New Zealand, Sept. 26.

Staff Sgt. Carlos R. Davis
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

 

WAIOURU, New Zealand — Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division, participated in Lightning Strike, here, Sept. 21-30.

The mission to New Zealand was an emergency deployment for the Soldiers as the quick reaction force company, explained Capt. Michael Crain, commander, Co. A.

“We were testing the system of being alerted, marshaling and deploying, as well as our ability to conduct partnered operations with regional partners,” said Crain.

Approximately 120 Soldiers from 1-14th Inf. Regt. participated.

“Exercise Lightning Strike demonstrated our ability to engage in training with our regional partners and our ability to prevent conflict in the Pacific’s area of responsibility,” said Crain. “It really showed our ability to deploy and support any of our allies, here, in the Pacific.”

Part of the training included infantry tactics familiarization to increase the capabilities of operating in urban areas.

“The terminology between the U.S. and coalition forces is pretty much the same, except for a few acronyms thrown in from here and there,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Guilford, squad leader. “Training alongside of them was easy. They adapted to our styles and techniques, and we adapted to theirs. I gave them a class on how to enter and clear a room by force and was able to teach them some of our techniques like one man up and ready up.”

Before departing New Zealand, the Americans learned about Kiwi culture and received briefs on their military history and customs.

“The culture experience was pretty cool. … It goes back for generations. We were able to go out into their town, and they have a lot of beautiful sights over there,” said Guilford. “We learned about their past history, how they came to be, and the singing and dancing were pretty epic. It was something we don’t have when it comes to American forces.”

Realistic and challenging exercises bring Tropic Lightning Soldiers closer together while improving international relationships, and Alpha Co. worked together to develop lasting relationships.

“This is something I would probably never be able to experience again in my military career,” said Spc. Zachary Dahlgren, infantryman. “There wasn’t a big language barrier, so talking and interacting with their Soldiers was pretty easy.”

“We alerted everyone and had everyone go through the deployment sequence that ranges from palletizing our equipment to loading it onto a C-130 aircraft, and then deploying to another country,” said Crain. “This training allowed us to put our prior training into action. It allowed us to deploy without any notice and test our ability to integrate our army into the ranks of a partnered nation, and successfully conduct a mission.”

 

Lightning Strike

The two-week exercise is designed to enhance military-to-military relations between participating forces while supporting the development of the host nation’s capabilities.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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