Army partners with German infantry for training event

Story and photos by Sgt. Frank Sanchez III
21st TSC Public Affairs

HAMMELBURG, Germany ― Ensuring routes were safe for battlefield maneuvers was the primary mission for Soldiers of the 42nd Clearance Company, 54th Engineer Battalion, 18th Eng. Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command during a partnership training event with the German Bundeswehr’s 441st Mechanized Infantry Bn. here Sept. 13 to 19.  

For the specialized engineer unit based out of Bamberg, Germany, this meant overcoming communication barriers during the planning and execution of route clearance techniques with their German counterparts.

Second Lt. Alexander Jansen, a platoon leader for the 42nd Clearance Co., believes the experience will help build a solid foundation for his Soldiers and their fellow German soldiers as they conduct route clearance procedures, he said.
 “By incorporating our tactics with those of the German military and trying to combine them, we can improve and have a better product at the end of it,” Jansen said.

The two units convoyed together from Hammelburg to the Wildflecken training area in order to put their route clearance training into practice.

The 42nd Clearance Co. utilized two types of specialized vehicles to assist in finding suspected improvised explosive devices. Soldiers operated the “Husky” vehicle, a single-occupant, four-wheel drive vehicle designed for mine blast protection, which has a mine detection and proofing system to locate IEDs. A “Buffalo” mine protected clearance vehicle was also brought in to examine the suspected area for IEDs placed along the road.

The training proved challenging since it brought together a combination of equipment, procedures and personnel from two nations. Nonetheless, it also created a true Soldiers’

bond for all involved by the end of the partnership.
German army Capt. Jan Schroeder, a training officer for the Maneuver Training Center in Hammelburg, thinks the training on route clearance greatly improves a unit’s capabilities.

“It is better to know before you get to Afghanistan, the special abilities and the mind set of each other,” Schroeder said.