Niinisalo, Finland (FOX44) – Some Fort Hood soldiers have just completed training in an entirely different environment than they were used to as part of an exercise called Hammer 22 in Finland.

U.S. Soldiers assigned to 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, found themselves training alongside members of the Finnish army as part of an ongoing effort by United States and Finnish military counterparts to train alongside one another and improve operational tactics, techniques and procedures.

Over the course of two weeks, combined forces performed numerous training scenarios. More than 4,000 Finnish soldiers, including 2,500 Reserve soldiers and about 200 U.S. Soldiers trained shoulder to shoulder operating numerous M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Abrams tanks throughout the duration of the exercise.

Throughout the exercise, inclement weather enveloped soldiers in new environments. Between bouts of rain and snow, the flat dense wooded terrain introduced the Fort Hood soldiers to different methods of combat than the sand they had been used to. While cavalry scouts engaged simulated enemy units in a constantly changing environment, Abrams and Bradley crew members worked to navigate the muddy trails that snaked through the pine trees and surrounding fens that were heavily mined with large mossy granite rocks.

(US army photo Spc Charles Leitner

“U.S. soldiers are getting an awesome opportunity to train in an environment they’ve never trained in before,” said fire control officer Captain Joseph M. Browne. “Specifically for our troop, I think this is the first time these soldiers have operated in a wood and muddy environment, we’re used to a sandy type of environment, so this is a brand-new concept for them. Overall, it presents a challenge for them to test their skills.”

“The Finnish Army is very professional,” Browne said. “There are a few things that they do differently, but we all understand the same language when it comes to fire support.”