Tennessee Guardsmen Join Multi-National Exercise in Bulgaria

Soldiers from Tennessee participate in a multi-national military exercise, Beyond Horizon 2024, in Bulgaria.

Nearly 20 soldiers from the 117th Military Police Battalion based in Athens and the 269th Military Police Company from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, have embarked on an international training journey, joining forces with over 140 military policemen from five allied nations. This collaboration marks the commencement of Beyond Horizon 2024, a significant multi-national training exercise taking place at the Novo Selo Training Site in Bulgaria from May 14-22.

The exercise was inaugurated with a ceremony that heralded the start of a nine-day intensive training program. During this period, the Tennessee Guardsmen will work closely with military policemen from Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, North Macedonia, and Romania. The primary aim is to enhance combat skills and ensure NATO standards for interoperability are met. The training will cover a variety of military tasks including operations in urban terrains, securing critical sites, detainee operations, response to improvised explosive devices, and conducting medical evacuations.

Lt. Col. Andrew Dye, the commander of the 117th Military Police Battalion, outlined the structure of the exercise. “For the first five days, each nation will have the opportunity to work together and train at the squad and platoon level,” he explained. The 269th Military Police Company is set to provide expert instructors for many of the classes and training events planned.

The initial five days of task-specific training will be followed by a joint three-day culminating exercise. This final phase is designed to test the skills honed during the earlier part of the exercise and improve the coordination among the participating nations. Dye anticipates this to be a vital opportunity for bonding and learning about the operational nuances of each country’s military. The exercise scenarios will include managing protests, terrorist attacks, detainee escapes, and medical emergencies, aiming to enhance response effectiveness, efficiency, and safety.

The Tennessee National Guard has maintained a longstanding cooperative relationship with the Bulgarian military, dating back to more than 30 years ago when Tennessee and Bulgaria were paired in the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program in 1993. This exercise is seen as a continuation of this partnership, offering an invaluable opportunity for hands-on training with international allies. Lt. Col. Dye emphasized the importance of these exercises in strengthening relationships, streamlining communications, and aligning tactics and techniques with allied forces for better effectiveness in joint operations.

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