NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria –
In an effort to enhance capabilities and interoperability throughout the Novo Selo Training Area ranges, Area Support Group-Black Sea fulfilled an order of equipment to the firefighter section of 32450 Mokren Command, following a request made by U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 415th Civil Affairs Battalion in 2021, and delivered by Soldiers assigned to 407th Civil Affairs Battalion at the Mokren Command headquarters, Bulgaria, on April 27, 2022.
Commander of NSTA Bulgarian Land Forces Lt. Col. Petar Petrov says, "when we have good equipment it enables us to provide a quick reaction and we become more effective to extinguish any possible fires. This enables us to provide better support and arrange good conditions for all training exercises that are conducted on the range."
The equipment delivered to Mokren Command included personal protective equipment and firefighting tools for wildland firefighting such as: fire shelters, boots, pants, shirts, gloves, helmets and forest fire rakes.
"We discussed a possibility to plan a combined training with the U.S. Army firefighters and the Mokren Command to observe and train with equipment from both sides," Petrov said. "We would also want to coordinate between both parties to establish a standard operating procedure in case of an emergency situation."
Mokren Command previously relied upon assistance from the Kotel Fire Department, but now an emphasis has been placed on cooperation and partnership between Bulgarian and U.S. Army forces.
"We [U.S. firefighters] actually support them [Bulgarian firefighters] on the range, and we are working on a mutual aid agreement to allow the Bulgarians to help us if we were to need it,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Scott Wendt, assigned to 615th Engineer Detachment-Fire Fighting Headquarters, Illinois Army National Guard, who is currently the deputy commander of the U.S. Army firefighter section in Novo Selo Training Area.
Novo Selo Training Area is a training facility operated by Area Support Group-Black Sea and hosts U.S. military personnel from V Corps as part of our ongoing bilateral defense cooperation with Bulgaria. V Corps, America's Forward Deployed Corps in Europe, works alongside NATO Allies and regional security partners, like Bulgaria, to provide combat ready forces, execute joint and multinational training exercises, and retains command and control for all rotational and assigned units in the European theater.
Bulgaria is a steadfast and gracious host, and the U.S. is honored to continue our long-term cooperation through engagements such as bilateral exchanges to improve partnership interoperability.