HOHENFELS, Germany -- U.S. Army Paratroopers and nearly 5,000 personnel from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, 10 NATO and six European partner nations, launched a Situational Training Exercise (STX) in preparation for exercise Saber Junction 16, at the U.S Army Europe's Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) here, Mar. 31, 2015.Saber Junction 16 is a 25 day multinational exercise to certify the 173rd Airborne Brigade's readiness and ability to conduct unified land operations with an emphasis on tactical collaboration among allied and partner nation forces. The exercise runs through Apr. 24, 2016, and includes participants from Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Enablers from across U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Air Force Europe will also join the 173rd Airborne Brigade to strengthen teamwork across the theater.While an airborne assault force of the 173rd Airborne Brigade stages for a multinational airborne operation out of Aviano Air Base, Italy, the rest of the Brigade is on ground in Hohenfels, Germany, refining their tactics, techniques and procedures for the exercise. During this initial phase of the operation, coalition forces are refining multinational cooperation at the squad, platoon, and company-level through enhanced maneuver lanes. This training incorporates infantry, cavalry, field artillery, engineer, signal, intelligence, and medical tasks."Effective communications are the root of success on the battlefield," said 1st Lt. Matthew Garnier, Executive Officer, Charlie Company, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade. "Our signal company is excited and ready to prove our capability to provide excellent communication support to this combined military exercise."The Soldiers of Charlie Company validated their Warfighter Information Network -- Tactical (WIN-T) equipment in both Hohenfels Training Area and Aviano Air base in preparation for the combined airborne force insertion and follow along training evaluation. Along with validating the secure and non-classified networks, coalition network (CONET) stacks were provided that enable mission command platforms communications interoperability among allied nations."Our WIN-T equipment is the tactical network backbone of the Army," said Cpl. Joel Robertson, a network systems operator. "Training on the use of the CONET system enlarges the overall common operational picture for combat units, and is a vital piece of working alongside our allies and partners."Saber Junction 16, also known as JMRC U.S. Army Europe's 2016 Decisive Action Training Environment (DATE) Rotation 16-04, is designed to evaluate and certify the readiness of the 173rd Airborne Brigade to conduct unified land operations.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.