DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland (Aug. 12, 2014) -- Paratroopers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade deployed for training as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, received training on Polish army weapons from their allies at the Studnica Small Arms Range, here, Aug. 5.
The weapons training was part of a training exchange focusing on weapons familiarity during Operation Atlantic Resolve, combined military-forces training designed to sustain strong relationships between allies and demonstrate a commitment to NATO obligations.
"It's interesting when you learn a different language. You want to learn [words] about the basics, like food, drink and water," said Spc. Kyle Archibeque, a native of Plano, Texas, assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. "In the military you want to learn about the weapons. It's just different, but we did a very good job of communicating with each other."
The American paratroopers assembled, loaded and fired the Polish RPG-7B, a reusable rocket- propelled grenade launcher noted for being easy to carry. It was a new experience for the American paratroopers.
"It was the first time I'd fired a rocket launcher," said Archibeque. "When it goes off, the rest of the world goes quiet, mostly from your ears ringing, and then the smoke disappears in time to see the explosion. It's like perfect timing all across the board."
The Polish Land Forces 6th Airborne Battalion, 6th Airborne Brigade, recently arrived to the Drawsko Pomorskie training area to work with the paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The paratroopers from Company D, are the second group of 173rd Airborne Brigade paratroopers to train here, since the exercise began in April.
"I think [the Americans] did great. There was a target at 300 meters, and almost everyone hit the target," said Polish army 2nd Lt. Matt Pytlas, operations officer, 6th Airborne Battalion, 6th Airborne Brigade.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade paratroopers also fired the Polish UKM-2000 machine gun, and the Polish M-83 9mm pistol.
In the end, the paratroopers gained mutual weapons experience and look forward to continuing the exchange of military knowledge.
"I think that it [working with NATO allies] will be a great source of experience for us, especially with tactics," said Pytlas. "Every single army has its own tactics and experience. This is the place where we can share it, which is perfect."
Approximately 600 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade are in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve to demonstrate commitment to NATO obligations and sustain interoperability with allied forces.