By Capt. Doug MagillJuly 5, 2017
NOVO SELO, Bulgaria - The 7th Mission Support Command and elements from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command arrived July 1 at Novo Selo Training Area in support of a multinational exercise in Eastern Europe.
The exercise - Saber Guardian 17 -- is the 2017 edition of an annual exercise held in the Black Sea Region as part of the U.S. European Command Joint Exercise Program.
Saber Guardian aims to assure U.S. allies and partners of the enduring U.S. commitment to the collective defense and prosperity of the region and to reinforce deterrence measures agreed to by NATO allies, according to United States Army Europe.
"Saber Guardian is a series of exercises in the Black Sea Area," said Brig. Gen. Steven Ainsworth, 7th Mission Support Command commanding general and 21st Theater Sustainment Command deputy commanding general. "What we do is practice multinational operations. This is to increase our ability to communicate with each other and also increase our interoperability."
The 7th MSC and the 21st TSC - both headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany - are conducting a command post exercise as part of the overall exercise of Saber Guardian. The multinational exercise is conducted by 25,000 military personnel from 22 allied nations - the United States accounts for 14,000.
"This mission command is forward so that we can be at the point of deconflicting any friction that occurs and insuring that we provide the very best support to the 14,000 Soldiers that are in the three-country area," Ainsworth said. "That's Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria."
The majority of the 21st TSC's Soldiers in the forward command post come from the command's Special Troops Battalion.
"The 21st Special Troops Battalion has a unique mission here in Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, that will have a lasting training impact on the organization for several months to come," said 21st STB commander Jason A. Berdou. "We've been able to improve the readiness of total Army entities by integrating the 21st TSC and the 7th MSC by planning and paving the way for the 103rd ESC to deploy and execute the redeployment operations of U.S. Saber Guardian 17 forces."
Other 21st TSC downtrace units, including the 16th Sustainment Brigade, the 30th Medical Brigade and the 18th Military Police Brigade are taking part in the exercise as well as the Black Sea Area Support Team which has assets located in Romania and Bulgaria. The 7th MSC's 361st Civil Affairs Battalion also is taking part in Saber Guardian 17.
The practice of reserve and active components working together on exercises such as Saber Guardian improve the ability of both commands to do so during war time.
"Our ability to work together as a team helps us become more familiar with one another so that in a time of crisis we are better prepared to execute our war time functions," Berdou said.
Saber Guardian is also a multi-component exercise, including assets from the National Guard as well as the Army Reserve and Active Army.
"We provide mission command across the spectrum," Ainsworth said. "The reason it's important that we do this (between active and reserve components) is the 7th MSC is an Army Reserve unit and we can bring and flow in any additional resources that we need. In addition to that, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command has the ability to reach back to the main element. And we can provide good analysis and future planning. Also, the theater sustainment command has the reach-back capability all the way back to (the United States) and can help us in insuring that we can strategically - all the way down to the tactical level - provide the right sustainment level."