By 1 LT Mackenzie SimsMarch 2, 2017
Setermoen, Norway -- B Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade forward-deployed to Norway to participate in Exercise Joint Viking, an exercise which brings together reconnaissance, infantry, armor and artillery assets for a NATO joint and combined arms exercise, simulating high-intensity warfare in challenging artic conditions.
For the past several weeks, Paratroopers of B Troop, 1-91 CAV have conducted partnered classroom and cold-weather environment training alongside soldiers of Norway's Northern Brigade, receiving instruction on a variety of skills critically important to conducting operations north of the Arctic Circle.
"The importance of Joint Viking is two-fold," said Capt. Thomas Huens, Commander of B Troop, 1-91 CAV. "Expanding our capability to fight in arctic or cold weather environments is extremely valuable. At the same time, as a U.S. Army Europe based unit, we have a great opportunity to train and interface with a NATO allies."
Exercise Joint Viking takes place over an exceptionally large geographic area, with a maneuver area covering more than two-hundred square kilometers of forested and mountainous terrain.
"Looking to the future, we don't want to wait until we are having to operate together in a combat environment to learn how to integrate and be effective. Joint Viking is a unique opportunity to conduct maneuver operations over an extremely large maneuver space in a multi-national setting." said Huens.
Paratroopers of 1-91 CAV have received specialized instruction in the employment of BV 206 all-terrain tracked personnel carriers, cold-weather tents, emergency stoves, and cold-weather injury prevention in preparation for live fire training and maneuver exercises as part of Joint Viking.
Further, B Troop has taken advantage of opportunities to train in winter search and rescue. Paratroopers of 1-91 CAV participated in practical exercises covering methods of conducting area searches for victims of avalanche events, learned to identify areas with high risk of avalanche, gained additional experience utilizing emergency personal locator beacons in search operations, and refined methods for conducting area searches in the aftermath of an avalanche.
The training received and relationships formed during Joint Viking 17 will further strengthen 1-91 CAV's ability to respond to crises as the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Sky Soldiers) is the U.S. Army's Contingency Response Force in Europe, providing rapid forces to the United States European, Africa and Central Commands areas of responsibilities. Forward-based in Italy and Germany, the Brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build interoperability and strengthen the Alliance.