By Capt. Scott KuhnOctober 12, 2017
Elements of 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and 33rd Combat Group from the United Arab Emirates wrapped-up the fifth Iron Union partnered training event recently at the Al Hamra Training Center in UAE.
The quarterly exercise included a mechanized company with attached enablers from UAE's 33rd Combat Group and Soldiers from 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment and 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion.
According to Capt. Phil Baki, commander of A Troop, 6-9 Cav., the event provided an opportunity for the two nations to collaborate and increase partnered capacity and interoperability through focused and realistic training scenarios.
"We're providing them the ability to test [Emirati Land Forces] tactics and techniques," said Baki. "On top of that, us being a recon unit, we were able to provide them with a non-organic skillset that they don't have within their unit. So, we give them a little bit of an idea of different ways to operate and approach their tactical problems."
The exercise began with classroom instruction, which served as an opportunity to identify possible friction points over the next two weeks of maneuver exercises. It also allowed them to establish the foundations for the training before heading out to the conduct it.
"What we learned was that when we are working with partnered forces many of our doctrines and procedures are the same, but have different ways of implementation," said Lt. Col. Niel Smith, commander of 6-9 Cav. "So, whenever we are working with a partnered force there needs to be a dialogue up front to ensure that each side understands and is able to communicate effectively what they are doing and how they're doing it so we can achieve the desired effects from both sides."
The classroom portion was followed by company situational training exercises. The focus was on three collective tasks that ultimately would feed into the field training exercise; conducting movement to contact and a hasty attack, conducting a hasty defense and conducting a breach of an obstacle.
According to Baki, the breach was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the entire training event.
"A breach requires a lot of timing and coordination between all the elements. If a single thing is off it could cause a failure to the mission," he said. "The breach is challenging enough on its own, but throw in the language barrier and working across two different radio platforms and it adds a whole different element."
After the STX, it was time to pool together what they had learned and apply it to a field training environment. The scouts from Saber Squadron rolled out in the early morning darkness on a route reconnaissance mission. Their purpose was to establish a secure route for the follow-on mechanized company from 33rd Combat Group. Along the route the scouts encountered obstacles that they either had to remove or bypass.
Once the route was clear, 6-9 CAV identified and cleared an area to establish a tactical assembly area. From there, the combined task force of American and Emirati Forces conducted a movement to contact and hasty attack on a dug-in enemy.
The culminating event for the training was a combined arms live-fire exercise. This exercise incorporated all elements of the task force as well as fixed and rotary-winged aircraft.
According to Smith, these types of security cooperation training events, are important to continue for tactical and strategic reasons.
"Increasingly we do not fight wars or battles alone, we are always working with partners. So, the more we can conduct these types of events and the more we can develop familiarity between armies and between our leaders the better we will be able to operate in any conflict."