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NEWS | March 11, 2024

West Virginia Public Affairs Detachment Joins Allied Spirit 24

By Sgt. Cheryl Madolev, 153rd Public Affairs Detachment

HOHENFELS, Germany – Soldiers with the 153rd Public Affairs Detachment, Joint Forces Headquarters, West Virginia National Guard, arrived at Hohenfels Training Area March 7 to support Allied Spirit 24.

The annual multinational training exercise is hosted by the 7th Army Training Command at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center. It enables NATO members and key partners to enhance interoperability and readiness across specified warfighting functions. Although the event is integrated, the German Army’s 41st Panzergrenadier Brigade is the primary training audience for this year’s event, from Feb. 26 to March 27.

While deployed to Germany, the 153rd PAD will provide public affairs support to cover the 6,500 Allied Spirit 24 participants for two weeks.

“We have been training and preparing for this mission for nearly a year,” said Capt. James Mason, commander of the 153rd. “A lot of work has gone into getting us to this point, so I’m excited that we’re on the ground in Germany and that the unit can get to work with our partners and allies.”

Denmark, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States are participating in the exercise. 

“We plan to accomplish a multitude of different tasks during Allied Spirit 2024 to support our unit’s mission readiness,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ariana Shuemake, public affairs operations noncommissioned officer of the 153rd. “We have a chance to train alongside NATO forces in a joint training environment that highlights the strength of the relationship that we have with our allies and partners.”

Allied Spirit 24 allows the 153rd PAD to showcase the strong relationship between NATO allies and partners through visual and written storytelling in the unit’s first mission outside the United States since 2017. The Soldiers will write stories and social media content and shoot photos and videos showcasing the events.

“The 153rd Public Affairs Detachment was chosen for this mission due to the unit’s overall readiness and our ability to deliver strategic communication products at the highest level,” said Mason. “Working with our NATO allies is always a great opportunity for units in the Army National Guard.”

The Joint Multinational Readiness Center is based in Bavaria at Hohenfels Training Area. Covering 40,000 acres, Hohenfels was requisitioned for use as a U.S. Army training area in 1951 and is the second largest training area available to U.S. troops in Europe. It is the only Army Combat Training Center outside the continental United States.



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