LVIV, Ukraine —
Task Force Illini, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Illinois Army National Guard assumed command of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U) mission at Collective Training Center – Yavoriv (CTC-Y), Ukraine, during a Transfer of Authority ceremony July 30.
The Joint Multinational Training Group mission provides sustainable training and advisement to Ukrainian military forces. United States military units support CTC-Y as part of a long-running defense cooperation program designed to strengthen relationships and affirm the United States’ commitment to the success of a stable and free Ukraine.
Since November 2019, Task Force Juvigny, 32nd IBCT, Wisconsin Army National Guard has led the JMTG-U mission. “I’m very proud of what these Wisconsin Soldiers accomplished the past nine months, including during the onset of a global pandemic,” said Col. John Oakley, Task Force Juvigny commander, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Wisconsin Army National Guard. “Task Force Illini, I know you will continue this mission as professionals. Your support, assistance, advice and friendship will help bring Ukraine one step closer to true independence.”
Task Force Juvigny spent the last two weeks training Task Force Illini to take over the mission. “We are honored to assume this mission from Task Force Juvigny, who have been fabulous mentors for us in understanding the JMTG-U role,” said Col. Clayton Kuetemeyer, of Chatham, Illinois, Task Force Illini Commander. “Our team brings significant experience in military advising missions and we are ready to build relationships with our multinational partners here in Yavoriv.”
Soldiers from Task Force Illini were chosen from units across Illinois for their military and civilian expertise. Many Task Force Illini personnel also bring experience working with the Polish Armed Forces through Illinois’ state partnership program.
During the Transfer of Authority ceremony, Ukrainian Lt. Gen. Pavlo Tkachuk, the Chief of the Armed Forces Ukraine National Army Academy, which oversees training at CTC-Y, presented Ukrainian awards to several Task Force Juvigny Soldiers. He also welcomed Task Force Illini.
Tkachuk said the nine months Task Force Juvigny led the JMTG-U mission felt like nine days. “There was a high level of professionalism and cooperation achieved during the training here, for this I want to say ‘thank you,’” said Tkachuk. He welcomed Task Force Illini and promised his full support. “I am confident the defined tasks will be fulfilled with the same level of professionalism and high quality,” said Tkachuk.
Task Force Illini personnel deployed in mid-June and spent two weeks quarantined at Fort Bliss, Texas, before conducting its mobilization training validation. The Task Force arrived in Ukraine July 14 and expects to return home in Spring of 2021.
Seven rotations of United States Army personnel from the active and reserve components have supported the JMTG-U mission since 2015 as part of a long-running defense cooperation program designed to strengthen relationships and affirm U.S. commitment to the success of a stable and free Ukraine. Other nations supporting the JMTG-U mission include Canada, Lithuania, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.