LVIV, Ukraine – Combat advisers with Task Force Illini, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Illinois Army National Guard, supervised a Level 1 Observer Controller Trainer (OCT) academy led by soldiers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) from February 1 to 5 at the Combat Training Center-Yavoriv.
Ukrainian OCTs help the rotational units plan and execute training scenarios, then observe and coach the rotational unit.
Chicago captain Marks Jekabsons said AFU’s program and presentation style was like the American standard. U.S. advisers observed the academy to see how AFU was running the course and to provide recommendations to instructors when needed.
“I saw how passionate Ukrainian soldiers were about the course. This resulted in engaging conversations between the students and with the instructor, ”Jekabsons said. “It is always a pleasure to work with Ukrainians on a personal level, as they have gone through the hardships of life under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The passion they put into their army is obvious.
1st Lt. Johnny Vazquez of Rockford, Illinois, presented a pack of instructions on NATO security standards to AFU soldiers. His topics included hazard identification, risk mitigation, medical evacuation, convoy security operations, and fratricide prevention and mitigation.
Task Force Illini is the command element of the Multinational Joint Training Group-Ukraine, which is responsible for training, advising and mentoring Ukrainian cadres at the Combat Training Center-Yavoriv, in Ukraine, to improve the training and defense capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.