“Our assessment is that the Ukrainian soldiers are impressive, and absolutely a quick study due to their extensive air defense knowledge and experience in a combat zone,” Brig. Gen. Shane P. Morgan, the commander at Fort Sill, told reporters.
The U.S. military has trained, or is in midst of training, nearly 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers at ranges in Germany. But for the Patriot system, Pentagon officials decided to train the Ukrainians on American soil. Fort Sill, a storied former frontier cavalry post in southwestern Oklahoma, is where 5,100 troops a year from the United States and 18 other nations learn how to operate and maintain the Patriot system.
Since arriving in mid-January, the Ukrainian students have spent 10 hours a day, six days a week on classroom instruction and drills, military officials said. The sessions are generally in English, with some translation.
In more informal exchanges, American trainers say they are picking up tips from their Ukrainian students, who have battled Russian forces that the Americans have yet to directly engage in combat.
American instructors said they have been able to speed through introductory coursework and move to more advanced concepts because the Ukrainians were already familiar with Soviet-era systems, giving them a point of reference when working on a more automated platform like the Patriot.