By Spc. Marcus FloydJune 9, 2015
DRAWSKO POMORSKIE TRAINING AREA, Poland (June 9, 2015) -- Standing in an open field, a sea of Soldiers salute four different flags flying side-by-side. Despite being from different countries, the raising of the flags represents the beginning of a historic training exercise amongst allies.
U.S., Polish, German and Danish Soldiers gathered for the opening ceremony of Saber Strike 15, a multinational training exercise at the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Poland, June 8.
Part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between NATO allies, Saber Strike 15 is a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise.
The exercise's objectives facilitate cooperation amongst the United States, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to improve joint-operational capability in a range of missions as well as preparing the participating nations and units to support multinational contingency operations. There are more than 6,000 participants from 13 different nations.
"By joining together for this vital multinational exercise, [these soldiers] have demonstrated [their] commitment and strength as a member of the strongest alliance in the world," said Polish Army Col. Piotr Bieniek, deputy brigade commander of Poland's 15th Mechanized Brigade. "It is important to remember that this training exercise, here in Poland, represents one part of an even larger exercise."
In addition to the training, held in Poland, Exercise Saber Strike involves several significant training events conducted across several other countries in Europe.
"It is truly amazing to think that this type of teamwork is being conducted across four countries with the same type of cooperative training being executed in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland," said Tony Bonarti, deputy exercise director. "This is a testament to the strong ties that we have built with our NATO allies and regional partners and truly demonstrates the ideals of a strong Europe."
For Poland, however, this is the first time the country has hosted this multinational training exercise.
Having recently participated in another multinational exercise in Poland, Exercise Puma 15, U.S. Soldiers eagerly await the opportunity to learn more from their NATO allies.
"We just finished with Puma 15 with the French and Polish," said Spc. Anthony Nicastro, an M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank gunner with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. "Now we get to do it again with two more countries, Germany and Denmark. You can always learn something from different countries."
Over the course of Saber Strike 15, U.S. Soldiers will conduct several situational training exercises and combined arms live-fire exercises, involving not only infantry and armor units, but also artillery, air support, engineers, and other assets from all four nations.
Working at the company-and-platoon level, Soldiers, like Nicastro, are taking part in a historic exercise, whose mission reinforces the importance of joint assets.
"I am confident we will achieve our training objectives and accomplish our mission, because of your skill and dedication," Bieniek said. "Together we are one team, with one mission."