SMARDAN TRAINING AREA, Romania -"Train as you fight," the mantra of the combined fighting forces of America and Romania, was put to the test on April 20, 2017 at a wintry Smardan Training Area. The training exercise showcased the cohesion of the combined forces to the many military officials and news agencies in attendance.
The exercise, involving armored, infantry and artillery elements, was conducted in the face of high winds and piercing snow, demonstrating the mobility of both armies as they worked together to fire on multiple targets in limited visibility. Despite the adverse conditions, the soldiers on the field were unshaken in their movements. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jason Sabat, commander of the 1st Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, commented on what his troops take away from events like this.
"The Romanian forces have contributed a significant amount of time and resources to train with us. The soldiers have really gotten a lot out of it," he said.
Among the media and military in attendance was US Maj. Gen. John Gronski, deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard as well as Romanian Maj. Gen. Nicolae Ciuca, the Chief of the Romanian General Staff. Gronski shared his thoughts on the demonstration.
"What I saw was outstanding soldiers conducting tough and realistic training, and working together," he said.
After the ceremony ended, many in attendance took the chance to escape from the cold and take advantage of the courtesy tent offered, to enjoy warm beverages and discuss further what they had just witnessed. Despite the severe weather, the soldiers from both nations who had participated in the exercise emerged with renewed focus and optimism. Romanian 1st Sgt. Andi Tinjala with the 282nd mechanized brigade spoke on the cohesion and camaraderie of participating soldiers.
"It's all about cooperation and learning how to work together to have success on the battlefield," he said.