WASHINGTON ― U.S. and Omani troops on Wednesday wrapped up Inferno Creek 18, a three-week bilateral training exercise.

Troops from the U.S. 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division and soldiers from the 11th Omani Brigade, Royal Army of Oman participated in the exercise near Rabkoot, Oman, on the country’s southern coast. Scouts, mortar teams, infantry personnel and engineers all took part in the operation.

Over the three-week period, American and Omani forces drilled side-by-side, learning about each others military tactics and culture.

“You’re able to see from a first-hand perspective how the unit and the Omani forces actually work together and see how all their movements are well thought-out,” said Sgt. William Bickle, a U.S. infrantryman.

Inferno Creek 18 culminated in a joint assault on an enemy compound and a quick defense against an enemy counter-assault.

Omani vehicles dropped off U.S. scouts near a predetermined observation post, “observing the objective area, identifying key personnel, key weapon systems and [any] obstacles that could hinder their movement to the objective,” said Cpl. Jacob Kehler, the sniper team noncommissioned officer for the exercise.

As a team of Omani and U.S. engineers and infantry personnel approached the compound, scouts and other infantry units laid down cover fire. An engineer team with personnel from each force used explosives to breach wire protecting the compound, which was then swept by Omani and U.S. infantry squads.

An Omani rocket-propelled grenade team eliminated a simulated T-72 tank that was attempting to retake the compound.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Genge, the U.S. task force commander, said Inferno Creek 18 was “an opportunity for the U.S. and our partner, the Omanis, to bridge a gap and build a relationship here in the Middle East and to develop ourselves at the company and tactical level and now make our way from the lower levels, the individual, all the way up to the battalion.”

In the future, Genge said, there may be an even larger exercise with the Omanis, as the U.S. works to cement relationships with its partners in the Middle East.

Daniel Cebul is an editorial fellow and general assignments writer for Defense News, C4ISRNET, Fifth Domain and Federal Times.

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