Jump to contentJump to menuJump to footer

American–Hungarian cooperation

Text: Marcell Burillák | Photo: Judith Füzes, Balázs Zsalakó |  12:21 May 30, 2024

“The exchange of lessons learned and joint exercising are important, but the biggest target that we started out with is enhancing the partnerships, relationships and friendships” between Hungary and the USA – said Brigadier General Matthew S. Woodruff after seeing the 28 May closing exercise of Valiant Panther 2024. The reservists of the Ohio National Guard and those of the hosting Transdanubian territorial defence regiment recently held an exercise in Újdörögd.


During the one and a half weeks preceding the closing exercise, the reservists from the Transdanubian territorial defence regiment of the Hungarian Defence Forces and the Ohio National Guard received first individual, and then squad-level training from their mentors. They participated in live target practices, carried out a march upon a specific operations order (OPORD), and reacted to a threat caused by a small enemy unit and a gas attack within the framework of a situational task. To conclude the exercise, they carried out force-level live fire training. According to the task, the soldiers took up a defensive position in order to force the enemy to deploy, that is, to disperse them on the battlefield with a strategic objective. Following the first maneuver, they launched a counterattack, and based on the OPORD, they charged and defeated the opposing forces. The significance of the event is indicated by the fact that Brigadier General Dr. László Drót, Commander, HDF Territorial Defence Forces Command and Brigadier General Matthew S. Woodruff representing the Ohio National Guard also observed the exercise.

v20240528_Újdörögd_Valiant_Panther_FJ (13)

“The training for the 2026 validation exercise of the Ohio National Guard is well under way, and a Hungarian company will also participate in it. At present, we are practicing defensive operations, while next year we will be focusing on offensives again, also at the squad level. The conclusion of Exercise Valiant Panther 2024 is that the cooperation between the American and Hungarian soldiers is very smooth, they understand each other’s command words” – this was how Brigadier General Dr. László Dróth evaluated the event. Based on his own experiences, Brigadier General Matthew S. Woodruff encouraged his troops to get to know Hungary’s culture and Budapest, the “most beautiful European capital”. As he noted, “for 30 years now, we have been conducting very close cooperation at military level. We have 15-20 joint exercises in Hungary every year, and we’d like to carry on with it.”

v20240528_Újdörögd_Valiant_Panther_FJ (8)

“This is the first time I’m participating in an international exercise, where we’re working in combined subunits. Fortunately, there are soldiers serving with each squad who speak English well, which makes easier both professional communication and making acquaintances” – said Reserve First Lieutenant Dávid Lengyel, the leader of the 1st platoon formed of the training audience. “The most important part of the exercise was the sharing of lessons learned. Here there are no right or wrong solutions, as both procedures are useful. For example, we hold our weapons differently during assaults, and we taught each other how to do that. And we also rehearsed in two different ways how we can get from one point to another in the fictitious war zone. We have gained a lot of information” – added the first lieutenant, who is an IT services specialist in civilian life and was encouraged by a colleague of his to enlist into the Hungarian Defence Forces in 2021. The overseas guests, among them reservist platoon leader Jordan Frisco, were talking about their experiences with a similar enthusiasm.

v20240528_Újdörögd_Valiant_Panther_FJ (19)

“We enjoyed the joint programs very much. We began to learn about Hungarian culture, for instance by tasting the characteristic dishes. I have already been to Europe several times, but this is the first time I’m in Hungary, which resembles my home in more than one way. Ohio is also famous for its mountain landscapes, just like the Bakony Hills, and we have a lake resembling Lake Balaton as well. At this exercise, we were in the same boat: on both sides, the more seasoned soldiers shared their knowledge with those with less experience in the fields of communication, marksmanship and force-level task execution” – said the platoon leader. Rather unconventionally, the closing exercise was observed by more than 150 Hungarian cadets who currently pursue their studies in Veszprém County. The cadets greeted the spectacular phases of the exercise with applause.

Kapcsolódó cikkek

From Ohio to Újdörögd

13:19 May 27, 2024