VESZPREM, Hungary - Enhance interoperability, increase operational readiness and strengthen allied relationships.That was the over all training objective for Exercise Brave Warrior, a month long training exercise Task Force Saber, under the command of 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, in coordination with 1st Battalion, 25th Infantry Brigade, Hungarian Defense Forces Sept. 17 through Oct. 21 at Bakony Combat Training Centre, Veszprem, Hungary.The three objectives are concise and set the foundation for multinational exercises all over Europe. But if you break them down, you would wonder what they mean.As Lt. Col. Jonathan Due, commander for 4th Squadron, explains, it means developing relationships between U.S. Soldiers and our allies."By the end of all these types of different operations, we have the opportunity to develop relationships with our allies (including) personal relationships," he said. "But most importantly it is professional. If you really look at the heart of it, its tactical relationships between units and that's what really creates a stronger more capable NATO alliance."Although the integration of American and allied units during a training exercise is nothing new, Brave Warrior offered 4th Squadron something a little different than Due has experienced. The exercise design was the sole product of the Hungarians.The American Cavalry Troops, within each echelon, operated under Hungarian leadership during each phase of training. Hungarian Soldiers were given the chance to be under American leadership."That, I think is a very unique opportunity," said Due. "Its an extraordinary opportunity that's really the result of professionalism as well as the foresight of our Hungarian allies and the resources we have here at the Central Exercise and Shooting Range that allow for the collective training that forms the higher level of our tactical formations."The cavalry squadron maneuvers throughout the battlefield in Stryker Combat Vehicles. Including the M1134 Anti-Tank Guided Missile, M1135 Mobile Gun System, along with Stryker variants for mounted and dismounted scouts who conduct area reconnaissance ahead of them.Fire support from M777A Howitzers was provided by Archery Battery, Field Artillery Squadron, 2CR.The Hungarians brought the BTR-80 Armored Personnel Carriers and T-72 Tank to the fight.Capt. Cary Fitzpatrick, commander, Outlaw Troop, swapped one of his platoons for a Hungarian mechanized infantry platoon. He integrated them in every single one of their operations and shared Outlaws tactics, techniques and procedures as well as learned about theirs.His formation consists of scouts who make use of the M1126 Combat Stryker Vehicle to conduct forward area reconnaissance."It's been great seeing how well my American Soldiers work with their Soldiers and their leaders work with my leaders; building that shared competence so we are at the same level of readiness that we need to be as NATO Allies," Fitzpatrick said.The task force increased their operational readiness not only by learning tactical tasks but also through leader development. Junior leaders were able to broaden their experiences and see their tasks in a new context by training with the Hungarian Soldiers.Though conducting a tactical task, such as an area reconnaissance, may be the same in Hungary as it is at the squadron's home station in Germany, young leaders and their Soldiers were able to perform that recon for a Hungarian allied unit."That is subtle, but it is a very significant difference that really changes a leaders perspective and allows us to refocus on our own doctrinal fundamentals only to increase the clarity of communication that we really need to operate as part of an alliance," said Due.Throughout Exercise Brave Warrior, the two armies conducted multiple, iterative repetitions of key combat tasks that make up their over all tactical maneuvers."That allows us to get better every single day," explained Due. "After each of those iterations, we had a chance to do a quick hot wash or some times a full blown after action review with our Hungarian Allies and that more than anything is helping our squadron to learn about itself and to get better."For 1st Lt. Nick Preskar, platoon leader for 2nd Platoon, Outlaw Troop, getting that extra guidance from Due and the Hungarian Leaders as well as his troop commander and first sergeant made all the difference."After every single time we went out, we had an after action review up top with the squadron commander. That says a lot," Preskar said. "You don't really get a lot of squadron guidance all the time like that. So for him (Due) to be in all our AARs and help us revise our training plans; I think it is outstanding"
In the end, the Soldiers under Task Force Saber and 25th Infantry Brigade were able to perform and integrate complicated tactical tasks into a combined live fire exercise that culminated Exercise Brave Warrior. In turn, strengthening the relationship between the two allies.