RUKLA, Lithuania - Multinational Soldiers with the Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland completed a two-day tactical road march across sovereign NATO borders and arrived to Rukla, Lithuania, June 18, 2017, as part of Saber Strike 17.
The Poland-based Battle Group conducted the convoy portion of the Field Training Exercise to demonstrate their ability to execute a forward passage of lines across the only land connection between the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which is known as the Suwalki Gap.
"What's unique about today is, this is the first time that the Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group from Poland has actually deployed one troop with all of their enablers," said U.S. Army Col. Patrick Ellis, commander of 2nd Cavalry Regiment. "During the tactical road march we crossed through the very famous Suwalki Gap and that's a big deal. This is the first time it has happened, which really demonstrates the cooperation amongst the eFP Battle Groups."
Showcasing their ability to move personnel and equipment throughout Europe's Eastern flank highlights Battle Group Poland's commitment to assure NATO Allies, rapidly respond to threats as needed, ensure support to global operations, and to deter any aggression against the Alliance.
Saber Strike 17 is a large-scale exercise that demonstrated the deterrence capabilities of the alliance and improves the ability of each nation to work together as a collective unit while building the readiness of those units involved.
Training alongside Allies and partners during the multinational exercise helps build the professional relationships between Lithuania, Poland, Romania, The United Kingdom and the United States and demonstrates that each nation can provide capabilities to the battle group to make it a unified force.
"This training exercise that we're conducting gives each nation a common operating picture," said 1st Sgt. Adwin Rosado, first sergeant of Fox Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment. "As part of Battle Group Poland, we need to show the world that we support NATO's mission, and that our commitment to deter aggression and defend if needed is strong."
The eFP Battle Group Poland presence in Lithuania will reinforce the obligation to provide security and stability throughout the Baltic region. Training in Europe with regional Allies and partners builds on the combined readiness to respond to emerging threats.
"The ability to mass combat power within Europe's Eastern flank and repositioning from one country to another and to cross the Suwalki Gap demonstrates that Battle Group Poland can rapidly respond and maneuver when called on," said Capt. Brain J Lee, commander of Fox Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment. "It is important that we as a collective whole, come together with interoperable forces to go anywhere when called upon."
The Regimental commander also discuss how this exercise and the training that Battle Group Poland is scheduled to execute with the Lithuania Land Forces reinforces three key pillars that correlate with the mission.
"It's three aspects that we talk about assure, deter and defend," Ellis said. "Assure the Alliance that we are here and we're not going anywhere, exercises like this have a deterrent affect, our adversaries will see that we can move between countries and see that this is not a show, this is a well trained force and if we have to we will defend."