GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — More than 140 Soldiers from the New York Army National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team took charge of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine during a transfer of authority ceremony August 8.
The New York Soldiers, collectively known as Task Force Orion, will ensure the combat effectiveness of Ukrainian military personnel training on systems and equipment issued under the United States Presidential Drawdown Authority. This marks the second time the 27th IBCT has assumed the JMTG-U mission, making it the first and only unit in the JMTG-U’s history to do so.
“It is absolutely great to have [Task Force Orion] back here,” said Brig. Gen. Joseph Hilbert, commander of 7th Army Training Command. “We remember what you did on your previous rotation. You left an impact on all of us here in 7th ATC. You left an impact on the Armed Forces of Ukraine that you trained then, and you’ll leave an impact on them that you train now.”
Task Force Orion assumed the JMTG-U mission from Task Force Gator, a unit established from the Florida Army National Guard’s 53rd IBCT, which deployed in November 2021 to Combat Training Center-Yavoriv in western Ukraine.
Task Force Gator began its mission by conducting ongoing multinational partnering and advising operations to further develop CTC-Yavoriv into a self-sufficient, brigade-level combat training center. Before Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion, it ordered the unit to leave Ukraine for Germany in February 2022.
Task Force Gator integrated with its JMTG-U parent organization, 7th Army Training Command, to support ongoing training and exercise support activities, including Operation Assure, Deter and Reinforce, conducting missions across Europe in more than 18 locations and 12 different countries.
In April 2022, Task Force Gator reestablished operations supporting the JMTG-U mission, training Ukrainian military personnel in the Grafenwoehr Training Area.
“We started this mission in Ukraine, completed an unexpected and hasty move to Grafenwoehr, and worked through a lot of change. But one thing has remained constant: our commitment to Ukraine,” said Col. Jerry Glass, Task Force Gator and 53rd IBCT commander.
Since April, more than 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained on 15 different instruction programs at the Grafenwoehr Training Area.
With the arrival of Task Force Orion, JMTG-U remains postured to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine wherever the mission leads.
“Our mission’s success is measured by our ability to increase the proficiency of our Ukrainian partners in their lethality and their survivability as they defend their country against Russian hostilities,” said Col. William Murphy, Task Force Orion commander. “Each one of us understands this and is prepared to take every task assigned with the utmost professionalism and proficiency. We know the urgency of this mission and gravity of what the Ukrainian people have at stake.”