NEWS | Oct. 1, 2018

U.S. and Indian Armies Complete Exercise Yudh Abhyas 18

By Staff Sgt. Samuel Northrup 7th ID

CHAUBATTIA MILITARY STATION, India -- Soldiers from the United States and India completed a two-week training exercise Sept. 29, 2018, at Chaubattia Military Station, India. The closing ceremonies marked the 14th year of the bilateral training exercise known as Yudh Abhyas.

Yudh Abhyas, which means ‘training for war’ in Hindi, is designed to foster a shared tactical and technical understanding between the partnered military organizations. The training integrated the soldiers of both U.S. Army’s 7th Infantry Division and Indian army’s 99th Mountain Brigade into a single unit for a command post exercise and a field training exercise.

“Two weeks ago, when we started Yudh Abhyas 2018, I asked everyone to achieve three training objectives,” said Maj. Gen. William Graham, the Yudh Abhyas 18 force commander. “Give 110 percent every day because this exercise is a gift and we have come to train. Don’t quit, the terrain is rugged and the training will push you to your limits. And finally, learn every day. As professional Soldiers we do not get paid to rest on what we learned yesterday. We have to strive always to learn more so we are prepared to fight and win.”

The combined U.S. and Indian staff integrated and conducted mission analysis, planning, and creative problem solving, Graham added. They were exposed to a complex and challenging tactical and operational problem set during the exercise. The exchange of ideas and different ways to look at the problem was outstanding. By the end, they were executing and adjusting plans faster than he would have thought possible during a two-week exercise.

Indian and U.S. soldiers worked hand-in-hand with each other during the field training exercise, trading techniques on everything from rifle marksmanship to counter ambush operations, Graham said. The combined companies of U.S. and Indian soldiers conducted controlled movements to assault positions, and delivered devastating effects on the objective was truly impressive.

Both training scenarios focused on sharing tactics and ideas to become better, more effective warfighters. From long range sniper training and IED lanes to the military decision-making process, every service member learned how the other nation’s armed service operated and provided input to become more effective partners.

“I think it is critical for our NCOs (noncommissioned officers) and staff to see the different methodologies the Indian army has,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Grant, the senior enlisted advisor for 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team. “What is right for us may not necessarily be right for another army and this training enables us to work together more effectively.

“Anytime we do these bilateral engagements, our Soldiers can see the different training philosophies and take those positive tools back with them,” Grant added. “We can then integrate some of the different techniques into our procedures. That is how we adapt and become a more capable force.”

The exercise provided an opportunity for the Indian and U.S. army staff sections to see how each shop operates, said Spc. Joshua Kenyon, an information technology specialist with 7ID. He found his counterparts ran their shop in a similar manner to the U.S. Army’s.

“This exercise helped us integrate and work together more closely,” said Kenyon. “That’s what this exercise is about: taking two armies and bringing them together to accomplish the mission.”

It is important that the fundamentals are at the base of everything the Soldiers do, Grant said. Being exposed to the different environments and different armies can only enhance their ability to accomplish their mission. They leave the exercise with a better understanding of another army, culture and terrain. This makes them more adaptable and lethal.

“The terrain and elevation had an affect our snipers’ ability to shoot,” said Grant. “They had to take those factors into account when firing, which gave the snipers a different firsthand perspective of how to operate in this type of environment.”

These exercises are especially important for the Soldiers who have never deployed, Grant added. This exercise gave Soldiers a real-world perspective of a deployment such as the logistical complexities of moving an entire unit to this location. It is not just the infantryman on the ground. There are a lot Soldiers working in functional areas who gained a lot from this experience.

“Regardless of what army you are a part of, a soldier is a soldier,” said Grant. “It is refreshing to see the interactions our Soldiers had with the Indian soldiers. There was no us and them; it was all one team.”