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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | June 6, 2024

Tennessee Guard participates in Thracian Warrior Exercise

By Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Cordeiro, Tennessee National Guard Public Affairs Office

HASKOVO, Bulgaria - Members of the Tennessee National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 181st Field Artillery Regiment, participated in exercise Thracian Warrior 24 at Novo Selo and Koren training areas May 28 to June 4.

The exercise, hosted and organized by the Bulgarian Land Forces, featured units from Italy, Albania, Greece, North Macedonia, Croatia and Montenegro, and Bulgaria and the Tennessee National Guard. More than 2,000 service members and 700 pieces of equipment were featured, including two High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, from the 1-181st.

Thracian Warrior 24 is the largest exercise of the year for the Bulgarian Armed Forces. It showcased aerial evacuations, formations, combat firing with mechanized tanks and more. The exercise concluded with a large-scale, combined arms demonstration featuring air support, small arms fire, mechanized tank assaults, and long-range artillery, including Tennessee National Guard’s HIMARS crews.

This exercise is one of many completed by both Bulgaria and the Tennessee National Guard, and coordinated through U.S. Army Europe and Africa, as these military forces have been partners for over 30 years via the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. In this program, allied nations’ armed forces pair with a state National Guard with similar size and demographics to build relationships and learn from each other’s military capabilities.

The Tennessee National Guard and Bulgaria were among the first partnerships in the program, which now includes 92 partnerships with 106 nations. 

Thracian Warrior 24 was another example of the strength of a partnership like the one built over the past three decades between Tennessee and Bulgaria.

In addition to this exercise in Bulgaria, the 1-181st returned from a deployment to the Middle East in 2022 and completed a training mission in Japan in 2023. Next year, the 1-181st will travel to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, as a full battalion to complete Table XII certification.