By Sgt. Brianne M. Roudebush, 69th Public Affairs Detachment
(U.S. Army) – Throughout the year, the Hohenfels Training Area here is home to many different nations as they participate in training exercises at the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center, or JMRC.
U.S., Canadian, German, Italian, Latvian, Slovenian and British flags are among those commonly seen affixed to the shoulders of Soldiers in various camouflaged uniforms around base.
For the first time, while Exercise Allied Spirit IV was in full throttle, the Armenian flag also graced JMRC.
Armenian Maj. Gen. Gennady Tavaratsyan, chief of the strategic planning department of the Armed Forces General Staff, and his accompanying party, visited the training area, Jan. 13-27, to observe mission command in action, understand the military decision-making process, and learn about the U.S. Army’s noncommissioned officer, or NCO, corps.
“The experience within the U.S. Army is very rich, especially when talking about mission command,” said Tavaratsyan through an interpreter. “So our goal was to explore the path that the U.S. Army took in exercising mission command and choose the best way to adopt it within our army.”
The Armenian Armed Forces has a “very centralized, Soviet-era command structure,” said Maj. John Friel, the Office of Defense Cooperation chief at the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, explaining that Armenia is in the process of implementing a Western-style mission command into its general staff.
“This is a major shift for their department of defense,” said Capt. Marcus Smith, an observer, coach and trainer with the Warhog Team at JMRC. “They were very interested in bridging the gap between the theory and application of mission command as a part of planning and the military decision-making process. It’s been a really good experience and a good opportunity.”
Smith, who served as the Armenian’s escort during their visit, said he got a lot out of the visit as well.
“I feel like I’ve really gotten to know some of these gentlemen personally,” he said. “I think it’s those personal relationships that help to build alliances with our partner nations.”
Since the visit occurred during Allied Spirit IV, a multinational training exercise, the Armenian delegation was able to see the many moving pieces of mission command in action. They had the opportunity to speak with U.S. officers who specialize in different aspects of war fighting, officers from other NATO nations, and Brig. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command.
“I am very glad that I took this visit to Hohenfels,” Tavaratsyan said. “This was my first time having some experience with the U.S. military units in action. I saw how well prepared the officers and NCO staff were, and I appreciate the fact that all the questions during briefs were answered fully. Surely, this was a very productive visit."
Photo Caption: Armenian Maj. Gen. Gennady Tavaratsyan, chief of the strategic planning department of the armed forces, visits with American troops during Exercise Allied Spirit IV at the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Training Command in Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Jan. 25, 2016. (Photo: Capt. Christopher B Bradley, USAREUR)