• Capt. Deleon Rich, battle captain, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and Al Harbi Sultan, brigade operations officer, 180th Brigade, Royal Saudi Land Forces, look over paperwork prior to a brief for Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week, military-to-military exercise at the Tactical Training Center, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 8, 2014. The two sides worked together at the brigade level to produce an operation order that would allow the two battalion-sized elements to develop a mission for the companies to accomplish.

    Paperwork.

    Capt. Deleon Rich, battle captain, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and Al Harbi Sultan, brigade operations officer, 180th Brigade, Royal Saudi Land Forces, look over paperwork prior to a brief for Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a...

  • Lt. Col. Joshua Wright (left), commander, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, speaks with Soldiers of the 7th Battalion, 180th Brigade, Royal Saudi Land Forces, on the first day of interaction between the two forces during Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week military-to-military exercise in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 1, 2014. Wright spoke on the importance of working together and getting to know each other both tactically and personally.

    Brief.

    Lt. Col. Joshua Wright (left), commander, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, speaks with Soldiers of the 7th Battalion, 180th Brigade, Royal Saudi Land Forces, on the first day of interaction...

  • Spc. Carlos Murillo-Alvarez (right) and Sgt. Donovan Turner, both infantryman assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, pull guard while their fellow Soldiers assault an objective during the culminating event for Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week military-to-military exercise at the Tactical Training Center, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 14, 2014. Soldiers of 1st Bn., 67th Armor Reg., and the Royal Saudi Land Forces worked together to successfully conduct a mixture of counter insurgency and full-spectrum combat training with the end result of strengthening stability and improving interoperability between the two nations.

    Engage.

    Spc. Carlos Murillo-Alvarez (right) and Sgt. Donovan Turner, both infantryman assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, pull guard while their fellow Soldiers assault an objective...

  • Lt. Gen. James Terry (center right) sits and speaks with senior leadership of 1st Battalion, 67th Army Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, about the exercise between them and the Royal Saudi Land Forces at the Tactical Training Center, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 12, 2014. Soldiers participated in Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week military-to-military exercise focused on strengthening stability and improving interoperability between the two nations.

    Sit-down.

    Lt. Gen. James Terry (center right) sits and speaks with senior leadership of 1st Battalion, 67th Army Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, about the exercise between them and the Royal Saudi Land Forces at the Tactical...

  • Spc. Ricky Quilaton, UH-60 Black Hawk crew chief, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment, 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, salutes following lift off with Lt. Gen. James Terry, commanding general of U.S. Army Central, at the Tactical Training Center, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 12, 2014. Terry visited Soldiers and leadership of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, conducting a two-week military-to-military exercise with the Royal Saudi Land Forces.

    Salute.

    Spc. Ricky Quilaton, UH-60 Black Hawk crew chief, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment, 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, salutes following lift off with Lt. Gen. James Terry, commanding general of U.S. Army Central, at the Tactical Training...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Bellinger, senior enlisted leader, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, poses with a Soldier of the Royal Saudi Land Forces after switching name tags following a cultural event and dinner at the Tactical Training Center, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 5, 2014. The dinner was part of the opening ceremony for Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week military-to-military exercise focused on strengthening stability and improving interoperability between the two nations.

    Patch.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Bellinger, senior enlisted leader, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, poses with a Soldier of the Royal Saudi Land Forces after switching name tags following a cultural...

  • Senior leaders of U.S. and Saudi Arabian forces sit and talk prior to lunch at the Tactical Training Center, April 11, 2014. The Royal Saudi Land Forces hosted Soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, to show thanks for their participation in Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week military-to-military exercise focused on strengthening stability and improving interoperability between the two nations.

    Leadership.

    Senior leaders of U.S. and Saudi Arabian forces sit and talk prior to lunch at the Tactical Training Center, April 11, 2014. The Royal Saudi Land Forces hosted Soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and 42nd Combat...

  • Three Humvees assigned to 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, pause prior to assaulting an objective during Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week military-to-military exercise between U.S. and Saudi Arabian forces at the Tactical Training Center, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 13, 2014. The two countries conducted planning at the battalion and brigade levels, which allowed the platoon and company levels an opportunity to share tactics, techniques and procedures.

    HMMWVS.

    Three Humvees assigned to 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, pause prior to assaulting an objective during Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week military-to-military exercise between U.S. and...

  • Leadership of the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and 7th Battalion, 180th Brigade, Royal Saudi Land Forces conduct a terrain model walkthrough at the Tactical Training Center, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 8, 2014. The large terrain board allowed leadership the ability to go through each step of their plan to assault the final objective of Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week military-to-military exercise focused on strengthening stability and improving interoperability between the two forces.

    Walk-through.

    Leadership of the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and 7th Battalion, 180th Brigade, Royal Saudi Land Forces conduct a terrain model walkthrough at the Tactical Training Center, Tabuk, Saudi...

TABUK, Saudi Arabia (April 21, 2014) -- For the third time in five years, U.S. Forces conducted a joint exercise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of Friendship and Ironhawk three at the Tactical Training Center in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 1-16.

Approximately 1,100 Soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade of the New York National Guard participated in the two-week military-to-military exercise geared toward strengthening stability in the region and improving interoperability.

The exercise, which focused on a mixture of counter insurgency and full-spectrum warfare, allowed the two sides to share tactics, techniques and procedures.

"As we worked our partnership piece with our counterparts, we began to evolve," said 1st Lt. Edward Echohawk, platoon leader, Company A, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd ABCT.
"I think the exercise was good. It was different working with Saudis and from what I can observe, I would say the relationship has developed significantly. I think it definitely served a purpose."

The two forces conducted exercises at multiple echelons, beginning at the brigade level and working down through battalion, company and platoon sized elements.

"I think we definitely bridged the gap of militaries of different countries," said 1st Lt. Daniel Nicolosi, platoon leader, Company D, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment. "If we didn't establish some sort of tactical advantage out of this operation, we definitely set the foundation for future operations."

The exercise allowed American Soldiers to not only interact with members of the Royal Saudi Land Forces, but also learn about their culture and history.

"They were very hospitable and wanted to sit down and get to know each other," said Nicolosi. "[They were] very welcoming and all about interaction between the Soldiers."

The Royal Saudi Land Forces hosted a cultural event for the American Soldiers that featured folk dancing, a moment of prayer and dinner.

"It was amazing," said Lt. Col. Joshua Wright, commander, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment. "The Royal Saudi Land Forces are tremendous hosts. They are very gracious. They shared with us their culture, their customs and their traditions. They essentially took care of us as one of their own."

The Soldiers knew the experience of collaborating with the Royal Saudi Land Forces would not be easily forgotten.

"It was interesting to interact and see the similarities and differences and take away what we could from the joint exercise," said Staff Sgt. Kris McGourty, armor crewman, Company D.

McGourty went on to say why it was important to relate with the Saudi Soldiers on a personal level.

Being able to sit down and interact with Saudi soldiers allowed us to learn about them on a social level, making it easier to work together, said McGourty.

As the Soldiers interacted, they became closer and closer.

"The Soldiers loved it. They wanted more interaction than we were able to provide," said Nicolosi. "We were able to interact without interpreters and they were very open to understanding us. I think we did a good job of being open to understanding them."

As the event came to an end, it was evident the two forces had surpassed expectations of what could be achieved.

"If (Soldiers) had a previous understanding or idea that partnership wasn't possible or something that wasn't worthwhile, I think we definitely charged their mindset," said Nicolosi. "Not only do we train similar ways, but we have similar goals both in this region and worldwide."

The exercise set the stage for future events between the two nations and Soldiers are confident the relationships built will play a key role in upcoming interactions.

"I think we have a good impression on each other's cultures and war fighting capabilities," said McGourty. "I think, based on what happen here, it will enable better lessons learned for future Soldiers to come through and future Saudi Soldiers to interact with U.S. Soldiers."

Page last updated Tue April 22nd, 2014 at 07:11