Estonian Soldiers face U.S. opposition forces during Saber Junction 14
August 28, 2014
HOHENFELS, Germany (Aug. 28, 2014) -- The convoy moved toward the objective, interrupted by indirect fire. Parking the vehicles in a staggered formation along the dirt road, soldiers dismounted and provided security in all directions. After moving forward on foot, the platoon ran into civilians on the battlefield, who gave them intelligence on enemy forces in the area.
That information, along with the direction of their objective, took the Estonian army Scout Battalion straight into the cross hairs of the opposition forces, or OPFOR, of 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry, at Hohenfels Training Area, yesterday.
Once through the wood line, the Estonian soldiers reacted to the direct fire by flanking and taking an offensive position, surrounding the enemy. Loud beeps from MILES gear, laser-enabled training aids, let the observer-controllers know that all four of the U.S. Soldiers playing the enemy had been hit. This part of the scenario was over.
After being defeated, OPFOR Soldier Spc. Zach Aguilar of Huntington Beach, California, said, "they did pretty well in their flanking. They got our blind sides."
Although the beginning of Saber Junction 14, a multinational training exercise involving NATO allies and European partners, this wasn't the first time some of the Estonian soldiers had worked with U.S. forces.
"We have been working with the U.S. Army and it's good," said Estonian army Pvt. Alevsanoer Malinouski, of Pareu, Estonia. "It's good to see what others do, and to learn from them."
The Estonians continued with the mission, and moved forward through other obstacles to reach the indirect-fire point of origin, commonly known as the POO site. This is typically where artillery or rockets are fired from the opposition.
Saber Junction 14 is a joint multinational training exercise that enables NATO allies and partners to plan a large-scale operation that takes place in multiple European countries to prepare for real-world contingencies. Exercises such as Saber Junction provide vital opportunities for multiple U.S. service members to train as they fight, which includes integrating with NATO and partner nation forces.
This large-scale partnership, down to the squad-level joint training, ensures national armed forces are interoperable and prepared to maintain regional security and stability.