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U.S. Army finishes exercises in Turkey as part of Europe-focused drill

By Jake Thomas
U.S. Army finishes exercises in Turkey as part of Europe-focused drill
U.S. Army Illinois National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Michael Migliorisi uses a Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder to observe artillery rounds exploding on the impact area of Polatlı Training Area, Turkey, during Dynamic Front Phase 2. Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Stewart

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A multinational military exercise intended to improve interoperability between the U.S. Army and allied nations wrapped up its final phase in Turkey on Monday.

The last soldiers from the Illinois Army National Guard have begun packing up their gear as they prepare to return to the United States from the Polatli Training Area in Turkey, one of the staging areas for the Dynamic Front 21, the Army said Tuesday.

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Dynamic Front began in 2016 as a small artillery-fires drill at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, that has since expanded to 30 nations that train at five locations in Europe.

This year's first phase was held in May at Grafenwoehr and at Torun Training Area in Poland. A second phase was added to Dynamic Front 21 to expand into Turkey for the first time and brought in NATO Allied Land Command's commander to serve as the exercise's senior trainer.

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"This exercise is critical to building the readiness and interoperability amongst NATO allied and partner land forces, and executing a second iteration allows us to expand our scope of training," Lt. Gen. Rodger L. Cloutier, commander of NATO's Allied Land Command, said in a statement.

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Dynamic Front 21 focused on building interoperability along human, procedural and technical lines. It also developed responses to gaps and limitations in the theater fires complex, multi-echelon fires and improved tactical interoperability, according to the Army.

Lt. Col. Justin Kramer, 2nd Battalion commander, said that the exercise accomplished its goal of establishing interoperability and communication between fire support platforms with U.S. allies.

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"The phenomenal cooperation enacted by our allies enabled sharing of information and best practices throughout the exercise," he said. "It was an honor to be the first National Guard unit hosted by Turkey for a NATO exercise and their hospitality went above and beyond."

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