GRAFENWOEHR TRAINING AREA, Germany - Soldiers of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, conducted a quick turn-around on equipment maintenance and rail operations here this week to move five battalions to the Black Sea Region for an upcoming series of multinational exercises under Saber Guardian 17.
Exercise Saber Guardian 17, a U.S. Army Europe-led multinational exercise, will take place in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania from July 11-20. The exercise is the largest of 18 Black Sea Region exercises and will draw approximately 25,000 service members from 23 allied and partner nations to showcase collective deterrence capabilities.
For the 3/4 ABCT, known as the Iron Brigade, the series of exercises is further opportunity to assemble and move the majority of its forces across central and eastern Europe as it demonstrates the ability to mass at any given time to respond to a crisis anywhere in Europe.
It's the Iron Brigade's eighth movement of a battalion or larger since arriving in Europe in January to serve in a deterrent role as U.S. Army Europe's regionally allocated land force under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
The brigade just concluded a force-on-force scenario hosted by the Joint Multinational Readiness Center as part of Combined Resolve VIII. Immediately following that intense nine-day fight, Soldiers cleaned and prepared armor and wheeled vehicles for rail movement at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas.
"I'm really excited to be going to Romania," said Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Graybill, a platoon sergeant for Company C, 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3/4 ABCT. "We just completed Combined Resolve VIII. Going to Romania with a new mission will allow us to apply the lessons learned to Saber Guardian. I feel that it will allow us to have more time to polish up on areas and prepare to go to Combined Resolve IX back in Germany later this summer."
Graybill and his Soldiers are going to provide upper and lower tactical internet communications to Soldiers participating in the exercise.
"We are loading up equipment and vehicles and leaning forward to ensure we are all set up and ready. We ensure that the commander is able to communicate with all the Soldiers on the battlefield," said Graybill.
Along with the brigade headquarters, the five battalions relocating from Germany to participate in the Getica Saber exercise at Cincu, Romania, are the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment; 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment; 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion; and 64th Brigade Support Battalion.
The 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, moves to Varpalota Training Area, Hungary, to participate in Brave Warrior 17. The squadron joins its Apache Troop, which has been training in Hungary since February.
A sixth Iron Brigade unit, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, already has been training in Romania and Bulgaria as part of its Atlantic Resolve mission. The battalion will participate in the Eagle Sentinel and Peace Sentinel exercises in Bulgaria as part of Saber Guardian 17.
Despite the quick transition from Combined Resolve VIII to Saber Guardian, 3/4 ABCT Soldiers were looking forward to a new venue to train with NATO Allies and partners.
"I'm always able to adapt to new areas and new experiences," said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Kelly, a geospatial engineer for the brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company. "This is my first time going to Romania and being part of something big. I feel very fortunate to be part of the team."
Later in July and August, a company from 1st Bn., 66th Armor Regt., also will participate in Noble Partner 17 in the Republic of Georgia.
This collective training throughout the region is designed to further partner capacity and improve interoperability as part of a profound demonstration of U.S., Allied and partner commitment to security and stability in the Black Sea Region.