Exercise Saber Strike 18 Participants Mull Lessons Learned

As this year’s U.S. Army Europe-led Saber Strike 18 cooperative training exercise comes to an end, soldiers from NATO‘s Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland reflected on training, partnerships and interoperability.

“Through Saber Strike, I have learned that together, we are NATO. Once again, this multinational exercise has proven that all participating nations are strongly involved to achieve the same goal,” said Romanian 1st Lt. Alexandru Calinescu, specialist officer, Air Defense Detachment, Blue Scorpions, Battle Group Poland.

Enhancing Interoperability

Not only designed to enhance interoperability among allies and regional partners, this year’s exercise also focused on improving air and land operational capabilities with an additional key objective to train with NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence battle groups.

Battle Group Poland is uniquely comprised of U.S., U.K., Croatian and Romanian Soldiers, who serve with the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade as a defense and deterrence force in northeast Poland.

Saber Strike 18 began with combined situational training exercises aimed to teach soldiers specific skills, tactics and battlefield techniques of the participating nations, giving soldiers the opportunity to learn from one another.

“This exercise allows us to work with the coalition forces of Battle Group Poland giving us the chance to learn how they move around the battlefield, how they communicate on the radio, how they send fire missions and ultimately understand their standards to send fires downrange,” said Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Peterson, a mortarman from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment.

An integrated, synchronized, deterrence-oriented field training exercise designed to enhance interoperability and improve readiness of Battle Group Poland culminated the 12-day exercise.

“As a member of the Fire Direction Center, I am aware of the importance of rapid and accurate fire support, in a complex multinational exercise such as Saber Strike 18. We have learned how to adjust to different nations’ tactics, techniques and procedures in order to become interoperable and to perform our tasks efficiently,” said Croatian Pvt. Domagoj Sabolek, Fire Direction Center, Mobile Multiple Rocket Launcher Battery, M-92 Vulkan.

Participation in multinational exercises such as Saber Strike enhances professional relationships, military capabilities and improves overall coordination with allies and partner militaries to conduct a full spectrum of military operations, officials said.

“Like our commander said, the five participating nations in Battle Group Poland are like the fingers of a hand, if there is need, we strike together like a fist,” said Capt. Anna Bielak-Pestka, press officer for Poland’s 15th Mechanized Brigade. “After this exercise, we can truly say that interoperability between the Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland and the 15th Mechanized Brigade soldiers is on the highest level and we are a ready force.”