YAVORIV, Ukraine - New York Army National Guard Soldiers helping to train the Ukrainian Army played host to Maj. Gen. Anthony P. German, the adjutant general of New York, during a March 8 visit to Yavoriv Combat Training Center.
More than 220 Soldiers assigned to the Syracuse-based 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are deployed here as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine (JMTG-U).
Since arriving in Ukraine early November 2017, the Soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units as they strive toward their goal of obtaining interoperability with members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
"It was great to visit our New York Guard Soldiers working with the Ukrainian army," German said. "From the leaders on down, our men and women are making a difference."
"I am incredibly proud of the way our Army Guard troops are working with allies from across NATO on this important mission," German added.
German was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, commander of the 42nd Infantry Division, the 27th brigade's higher headquarters; Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard's senior enlisted leader and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th brigade's senior enlisted Soldier.
During the visit both German and Ferrari toured the training center and met with military leaders from allied and partner nations assigned to the Combat Training Center.
Currently Canadian, Denmark, Lithuanian, Polish, and the United Kingdom military personnel are stationed at the Yavoriv training center where they are engaged in a multi-national effort to assist the Ukrainian Armed Forces in improving their capacity to defend Ukraine's sovereignty.
While at the training center, German and Ferrari spent time eating lunch with U.S. Soldiers and presented challenge coins to outstanding Soldiers in recognition of their hard work.
In addition to recognizing Soldiers for their hard work, German conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri. Teri, a combat medic assigned to JMTG-U, reaffirmed his commitment to the New York National Guard for an additional six years.
Ferrari presided over a promotion ceremony of Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson. Swanson, a Stow, New York, native, serves as the JMTG-U forward support company first sergeant.
The generals' visit coincided with International Women's Day, and in honor of the occasion, the Canadian forces held a celebration consisting of a relay race and cook out.
Seven different four-man teams completed in the race. A team made up of Canadian and U.S. service members came in first place.
The generals also were able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.
Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand-alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.
The more than 220 Soldiers in Ukraine are slated to return home late this summer.