By Maj. Neil PenttilaJanuary 11, 2017
ROSE BARRACKS, Germany- Operating in fourteen countries simultaneously, all while conducting the longest tactical road march in Europe since World War II, seemed a daunting task as 2016 arrived. However, in 2017, the success of these achievements has added another page to the Regimental History.
The year could be summarized in several exercise names such as Allied Spirit, Saber Strike, Brave Warrior, Slovak Shield, SARMIS and Saber Junction, but even that doesn't fully tell the story of the Regiment's past year. That story is best told in the details that, while seemingly small, shadow the overall evolution and strengthen of the modern NATO Alliance. Those details include training with new partners and allies, synchronizing multinational fires, training in NATO encrypted communication and incorporating multinational units and enablers into 2nd Cavalry Regiment training certifications.
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment's year can easily be overshadowed by the success of the second Dragoon Ride, a 2,400 km road march that spanned six nations and culminated in a multinational training exercise in Estonia. The same trip included nearly 20 Military-to-Military and Public Diplomacy Engagements directly coordinated though the U.S. State Department and NATO Allies. That said, the Regiment achieved far more than that to help shape the security environment in Europe and beyond.
The year began with 1st Squadron deployed to the Sinai Peninsula as Multinational Force and Observers, or MFO, to take on the responsibilities of peacekeeping duties in the area. The Squadron would spend nine months supporting the terms of the Treaty of Peace, which was signed in 1979 by Egypt and Israel. In the same month, 3rd Squadron would also deploy to support Atlantic Resolve-North, a persistent presence of U.S. Forces across the Baltic and Poland.
Additional unique training opportunities presented themselves outside the major annual multinational training exercises of the Regiment. Cobra Battery of the Field Artillery Squadron conducted a "shock" deployment on short notice to Lithuania, conducting an Artillery Gunnery at Artillery and Armaments Training Center in Torun, Poland along the way. Fox Troop, 2nd Squadron, conducted Platoon Certification in Niinisalo Training Area, Finland in May as part of exercise Arrow 16 and became the largest U.S. Army Europe Force to participate in that exercise. Simultaneously, the Regimental Engineers conducted a nearly 1,100 km tactical Road March in Atlantic Resolve South and they trained with the Moldovan Army Engineers. In September, the Regiment was invited to send engineers from Bravo Troop to participate in EURETREX 2016, a multinational engineer training exercise in France. Lastly, in November, Soldiers from Lightning Troop, 3rd Squadron deployed in yet another "shock" deployment to Ma'ala, Israel in order to train with Soldiers of the Givati Brigade, Israeli Defense Force.
In a historic first, Capt. Amanda Hassett took command of Cobra Battery, Field Artillery Regiment and became the first female line battery commander in both the Regiment and U.S. Army Europe.
The year also brought a change of leadership to the Regiment. In July, Col. John V. Meyer III, relinquished command of the Regiment to Col. Patrick Ellis, making him the 79th Colonel of the Regiment. In August, Command Sgt. Maj. Shane E. Pospisil handed over responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Muhlenbeck, making him the 31st Command Sergeant Major of the Regiment.
The upcoming year of 2017 promises to build on the momentum the Regiment has built over the last three years. Troopers continue to work with their allies and partners to assure the alliance of U.S. resolve to deter potential adversaries and to prepare to defend if necessary. As always, the Regiment will remain always ready.