HOHENFELS, Germany - U.S. Army Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Signal Company integrated with the Romanian 280th Mechanized Infantry Battalion in preparation for Saber Junction 16, a multinational exercise to certify the readiness of the 173rd Airborne Brigade to conduct unified land operations at the U.S Army Europe's Joint Multinational Readiness Center here, Mar. 31, 2015.
"We consider this exercise to be a good opportunity for us to improve our level of training and interoperability with allies," said Romanian Lt. Col. Cristinel Colibaba, the 280th Mechanized Infantry Battalion Commander. "Saber Junction 16 will test Romania's military readiness and our ability to effortlessly conduct unified land operations with our allies."
The composition of the Romanian 280TH Mechanized Infantry Battalion illustrates the progression of cooperation and integration within the NATO alliance. Controlled by a Romanian battalion headquarters, the unit consists of one Romanian infantry company, one Bulgarian infantry company, two U.S. infantry platoons, one U.S. engineer platoon, one U.S. psychological operations team, and one U.S. communications team.
Combining Romanian, Bulgarian, and U.S. elements has greatly enhanced the military decision making process by bringing together different perspectives and experience. On the battlefield, Soldiers from across this unique formation represent the critical impact that combined NATO and European partner training is having across Europe.
During the exercise, signaleers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade will integrate with the Romanian Infantry Battalion's headquarters to provide secure digital and voice communications between the Romanians and participating nations. "Combining units from across NATO enhances our ability to operate and communicate across the battlefield," said Spc. William Heisler, a network operator with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Signal Company. "Facilitating joint mission command with allies is critical to combating future threats and Saber Junction 16 will show us where we need to improve and where we are advancing."
Today's battlefield requires that stand-alone networks be able to integrate into a wider multinational communications architecture. The training taking place during Saber Junction 16, evaluates the 173rd Airborne Brigade, NATO, and participating partner nations' ability to bridge over borders virtually.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the U.S. Army Contingency Force in Europe providing ready forces anywhere in the U.S., European, Africa and Central Commands' areas of responsibility within 18 hours.