Nebraska Guard troops headed to Germany to train Ukraine soldiers

Team leader Maj. Cody Cade called the deployment a unique mission that will have real-world consequences for the people of Ukraine..

Nebraska Guard troops, Germany

Capt. John Bridges of the Nebraska Army National Guard embraces his girlfriend Kaitlin Young during a send-off ceremony Friday at the Atlas Readiness Center in Yutan, Nebraska.

The Nebraska National Guard said goodbye Friday to 13 of its soldiers deploying to Germany to help train Ukrainian soldiers in their struggle to fend off a Russian invasion.

Gov. Jim Pillen and U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts joined Guard leaders and family members for a sendoff ceremony at the headquarters of the 1st Squadron, 134th Cavalry Regiment on the unit’s base near Yutan, Nebraska.

Maj. Cody Cade, who works as a historian for the Nebraska National Guard, will lead the team in its work at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in southeastern Germany. The Nebraskans will help teach their Armed Forces Ukraine counterparts as part of a new combined-arms training program.

That training is designed to better prepare the Ukrainian forces to launch an offensive or counter any surge in Russian attacks. Theyll be gone for up to one year.

Many members of the Ukrainian armed forces are civilians who were quickly sent to front-line combat units despite having little or no military training.

In a January visit to Grafenwoehr to mark the start of the combined-arms training, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described it as a key to helping Ukraine retake territory in the eastern and southern part of the country.

The U.S. had been doing combined-arms training inside Ukraine before the Russian invasion, Cade said. But after the war began, U.S. National Guard and special operations forces serving as trainers left the country.

The new training is a continuation of that effort, which also involves other European allies. Previously, the U.S. had focused mostly on training Ukrainian forces how to use and maintain certain weapons systems, including howitzers, armored vehicles and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS.

Delaney Gove of Ogallala, 13, hides her face in embarrassment after family and friends, including Staff Sgt. Thomas Shirey, center right, and Capt. Rahel Rowley, right, sing her a birthday song during a send-off ceremony for Nebraska National Guard soldiers Friday at the Atlas Readiness Center in Yutan, Nebraska. Shirey is one of the 13 soldiers being deployed to Germany to help train Ukrainians.

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