By Staff Sgt. Jennifer BunnOctober 3, 2016
VESZPREM, Hungary - In the past couple years; 2nd Cavalry Regiment has increased training with other North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces and their allied partners throughout Europe. From multinational river crossings, joint live-fire exercises to multi-city equipment static displays; the regiment has literally travelled thousands of kilometers to strengthen the alliance.
Along the way, the cavalry Troopers have become more aware of the part they play in the big picture and have gained cultural insights and work experience that others would envy.
From Sept. 8 -- 29, 2016, 4th Squadron, 2CR trained with the Hungarian Defense Forces and several Soldiers from countries including Croatia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia during Brave Warrior 2016 at the Bakony Combat Training Center in Veszprem, Hungary.
It is not the first time the Squadron took part in the exercise, but it is the first time for 2nd Lt. Quinn Dilley, assistant operations officer, who participated in a Tactical Operations Center exercise as one of three battle captains.
As a battle captain, Dilley and his two counterparts, a Romanian and Slovakian, both majors, track the entire battle, including, but not limited to fire support and logistic coordination. Then they send all information to the commander.
Since all the countries work together within the same command post, the exercise participants learn how to function under the same standardized procedures.
"What we are working here is a multinational TOC, so we have representatives from various nations working together to make one," explained Dilley. "It's a lot harder than (for example) having Hungarians talk to Hungarians in two different TOCs. We have to make a new Standard Operating Procedure, basically, to run the TOC in the NATO form. So, it is not actually how we would run it in our squadron."
To successfully accomplish allied military missions, forces will share a common set of standards know as a standardized agreement. The STANAG is a NATO standardization document that specifies the agreement of member nations to implement a standard.
This will help the NATO forces to use resources more efficiently and enhance operational effectiveness.
"We follow the NATO reporting format. We kind of had to learn how we do all those reporting formats but now we are working on a common operating format where we got all reports together," Dilley explains. "It's pretty stream lined, I think we got it down."
The exercise takes place in the virtual world with very real implications. The battlefield is a simulation but the TOC operates as though real Soldiers are on the ground and real decisions need to be made.
Interactions between the two are done through a secure chat room that is in English.
With only three months in the Army under his belt, Dilley is gaining a lot of valuable hands-on experience working closely with the two majors.
"I'm expected to do the same (job), giving me a lot of responsibility," Dilley said. "I have an advantage because I speak English, so I am able to do the chat and they are teaching me a lot about how operations work in general, things I would not know (yet)."
Dilley said the exercise has taught him a lot about how the U.S. Army interacts with NATO in general terms. The experience will also help him in future assignments.
"It's also helping me become a better platoon leader; by having me track battles at a higher echelon and empowering me," he added.
The training exercise was also rewarding for Capt. JD Moore, S4 Logistic officer for 4/2. He said he learned a lot about how his allied partners operate in their TOC environment.
"It is different than our own in that they work very conceptually, not as detailed planning as we tend to do in the U.S.," Moore said. "So, it gave me a little bit more freedom of maneuver, where I had the ability to make more decisions."
"I felt very empowered in that sense and I felt that our S4 section was as well," he added.
A logistic section is typically responsible for equipping, sustaining and resupply of all classes of supply for the troops on the ground. Moore learned from his Slovakian and Hungarian counterparts that they also manage medical support movement and give direct orders to logistic companies.
"(This) is not typically the case in a U.S. setting, so it was a very different way of managing the force in terms of sustainment," he said.
Moore said his section formed their set of standard operating procedures also. Learning from the STANAG, but also coming together collectively to figure out their own systems that worked best for the section in terms of sustaining the force within the exercise.
"Being stationed in Europe, you are always going to be working with NATO allies, so learning how they operate and meeting the different (nations) participants in the command post exercise was a great experience," Moore said.
As the TOC exercise drew to a close, Dilley said, "We have to think NATO. So does everyone else. So, when we hit the ground it was pretty rough, but now we are all under the same common operating procedure."
Brave Warrior is an exercise that brings NATO countries together to demonstrate their collective defense capabilities, in addition to enhancing interoperability, and strengthening allied relationships and Europe's stability.