GRAFENWÖHR, Germany (March 1, 2016) -- The 173rd Airborne Brigade will be the focus of U.S. Army Europe's largest combat training center rotation this year during exercise Saber Junction 16 at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Mar. 31 -- Apr. 24.
Nearly 5,000 participants from 16 NATO and European partner nations will take part in the exercise.
Saber Junction 16, also known as JMRC Rotation 16-04, is designed to evaluate and certify the readiness of the 173rd to conduct unified land operations (a simultaneous combination of offensive, defensive and stability missions), with an emphasis on tactical interoperability among the Allied and partner-nation forces.
In addition to the 173rd, Saber Junction 16 will feature units from Albania, Armenia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, as well as a variety of enabling units from the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force in Europe.
The Saber Junction exercise series is designed to provide the U.S. Army's two Europe-based combat brigades with a bi-annual combat training center rotation. CTC rotations certify brigades as ready and deployable Army combat forces for contingency operations anywhere in the world. In 2015, Saber Junction certified Army Europe's other combat brigade, the Stryker-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany.
While Saber Junction will take place primarily in Germany, the exercise's main airborne assault force will stage near the 173rd's homebase of Vicenza, Italy and depart on aircraft from nearby Aviano Airbase. In addition, several Allied units will digitally-connect to the scenario through simulations in Lithuania and Romania.
Saber Junction 16 will feature a multi-battalion, multi-national airborne jump near Hohenfels, followed by several days of air-land operations on the Hohenfels Training Area's Short Take-off and Landing (STOL) air strip. During this time, communities near Hohenfels may experience increased training noise due to low-flying aircraft.
Members of the press are invited to observe portions of the airborne operations during the Saber Junction 16 Media Day on Apr. 12 in Hohenfels. Interested media may contact the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command's Public Affairs Office for more information on attending the event.