NATO troops training at Camp Atterbury

Thursday, September 22, 2011
By Paul Martin

By: Jay Hermacinski

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) – Hundreds of NATO ground and air forces are training right now at Camp Atterbury.

The 750 service members from 13 countries are taking part in Operation Bold Quest, a joint forces exercise focusing on combat identification issues.

On the airfield at Camp Atterbury sit giant cargo planes. Not American C-130s, but one plane from Italy and two from Germany. Inside the planes, NATO combat identification training is under way.

“It is especially important to test it in an international environment because we need to be interoperable,” said Major Markus Stury, a pilot with the German Air Force.

Pilots are testing computer systems designed to identify friendly forces on the ground. They want to ensure that a German jet fighter can digitally identify coalition forces from all NATO countries.

One of the goals of Operation Bold Quest is to cut down and eliminate friendly fire deaths in combat zones.

“We need to have one system that works for all the troops. To test this up here is important before we can field it in theater,” said Stury.

The two-week exercise is a bi-annual event, but it’s the first time it is being held at Camp Atterbury.

“It’s a chance for everybody to see how the other countries work, and for us as well,” said Capt. Domenico DiGiulio, a test pilot for the Italian Air Force.

Platoon leader Lt. Rune Emlien from Norway echoed those sentiments.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to come here and see how you guys are doing it and train in this type of terrain,” he said.

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