NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland alongside Polish 15 Mechanized Brigade, successfully completed another iteration of the multinational rapid response exercise, Bull Run 10, Sep. 18-19.
Interoperability is the ability to routinely act together coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve tactical, operational, and strategic objectives. The purpose of this exercise is not only to test the interoperability between the U.S., allies and host nation, but to reinforce that we as a battle group are fully ready and capable to respond to any potential adversaries. This exercise enabled allied nations to work side-by-side, whether through planning or through using each other’s equipment to achieve the goal of this operation.
“This exercise promotes the readiness of not only the battle group, but our interoperability with our Polish brethren,” said U.S. Cpt. Philip Wright, Commander of the mechanized infantry L Troop.
The drill began with an alert to the troops and led to the battle group relocating to an assembly area outside of the training area provided by the host nation, Poland. From the battle group, the U.K. provided reconnaissance operations, while Croatia and Romania simulated supporting fire elements. The U.S. and Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade were the leading units during this exercise.
“The purpose of this operation is to test our ability in receiving an alert, rapidly deploying and working together in responding to any potential threat,” continued Wright.
This Bull Run brought something new to the table as the M1 Abrams traveled along the roads to the designated assembly area.
“Historically we’ve put vehicles on Heavy Equipment Traveling Systems, or other movement assets and moved them to the location,” stated BG POL Commander, Lt. Col. Mark P. O’Neill. “This is the first time we have actually gone cross country and we did it with relative ease!”
This exercise took elaborate planning and coordination within the battle group as well as with the Polish military and local authorities. This exercise also required a clear line of communication between the battle group as well as the Polish authorities. One of the obstacles during Bull Run included a wet gap crossing where U.S. track vehicles such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle needed to cross a bridge provided by the Polish engineers.
“Leading up to this exercise, we practiced a numerous amount of times with each other’s equipment to ensure a successful operation,” stated U.S. Engineer Officer, Cpt. Yinka Adesubokan, when discussing about the wet gap crossing. “Interoperability such as this works because no matter where you go, engineering is engineering because math is universal.”
“This was successful because we ‘spoke the same language’ and were able to visualize the same end state,” continued Adesubokan.
During this exercise, components from the battle group also participated in a static display in the local town Augustow.
“It was a great experience-the kids were so excited to climb all over our vehicles and try on our helmets and equipment, smiling and laughing with us the entire time,” stated Cpt. Tom Illes, the battle group’s Military Police platoon leader. “My guys and I were able to meet so many fun and interesting people and learn more about the Polish culture!”
NATO eFP BG POL is a multinational task force comprised of representation from Croatia, Romania, United Kingdom, and the United States to increase interoperability amongst Allies and provides a strong signal of support towards Poland. The 3/278th ACR is comprised of Army National Guard troops from Pennsylvania and Tennessee.