ZAGAN, Poland - The Soldiers of Bravo and Charlie Companies, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division have rolled out to the fields of Poland for the first time.
"We arrived in Poland a week ago," said Capt. Justin Bowen, commander, Charlie Company, 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Regt. "We are out here today conducting our LFAST and zero gunnery range in preparation for our ranges later this month. We are strong. We are ready to fight."
The purpose of the Live Fire Accuracy Screening Test (LFAST) is to ensure that the tank can fire accurately using the fleet zero method of calibration. The tanks are not individually zeroed. Instead, they are zeroed via a common, or fleet, zero that has been established for each type of main gun ammunition. Each tank must go through the LFAST process prior to live-fire gunnery training.
"We are going through our systems to get our processes in place, and increase our speed and tempo to better fight and train," said Bowen.
While this was their first training event in Poland, the Soldiers have been preparing for this for over a year.
"When we say, we are ready, we are ready," said Capt. Sean Griffin, Alpha Company commander, 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Regt. "As soon as we got word that the range was hot, we began putting rounds down range."
Even though the crews are now training in Poland; in many ways, it is almost like home for them.
"The weather here is like Colorado," said Griffin, referencing the unit's home base of Fort Carson, Colorado. "So, it is familiar"
Once the crews get their initial training out of the way, they will head to Bulgaria and Romania to begin training with their Allies.
"I am looking forward to working with our NATO Allies," said Griffin. "I worked with them during previous deployments, and I am looking forward to renewing our partnership."
This rotation will mark the start of a persistent presence in this region of Europe. The battalion will conduct exercises across the theater during their nine-month rotation. The rotational elements in these countries will not be permanently stationed there, but will provide a persistent presence across the theater, routinely moving and massing for exercises and training events.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.