CAMPIA TURZII, Romania -- Italian, Romanian and paratroopers with the 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, conducted heavy equipment, containerized delivery system and personnel airborne operations July 21-22, 2017, in Campia Turzii, Romania.
During the first phase of the airborne operations, seven C-130 Hercules aircrafts carrying Humvees, Howitzers and nine supply containers with ammunition, food and water flew toward the designated drop zone to perform heavy equipment drops.
Upon the completion of the heavy drops, 54th BEB Soldiers began to tactically recover each piece of equipment and supply containers off the drop zone. This task ensured every mission essential item the C-130s delivered was accounted for, and that the drop zone was clear for more than 600 multinational paratroopers to use for the night portion of the training exercise.
As the sun fell under the mountains, the second phase of the airborne operations began. A steady rotation of C-130s circled the drop zone offloading personnel, so those paratroopers could descend to the drop zone and execute the follow-on mission, an airfield seizure.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. European Command's rapid response force, which allows their units to routinely conduct airborne operation throughout the European theater. These unique combined training opportunities, in support of Saber Guardian 17, demonstrates the flexibility of ground and air forces to effectively reposition paratroopers, equipment and supply alongside Allied forces.
"The significance of conducting airborne operations in Eastern Europe is to deter aggression," said 1st Sgt. Daniel Cromer, first sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Company 54th BEB, 173rd Airborne Brigade. "It also demonstrates that in a short period of time we can get anywhere at anytime with our equipment."
Saber Guardian 17 is an exercise under the U.S. European Command's Joint Exercise Program, executed by U.S. Army Europe. It enhances joint and combined interoperability across a full spectrum of mission sets between Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. This multinational training exercise improves the professional relationships and the overall coordination between NATO Allies and regional partners.
"Our NATO Allies have been outstanding," said Lt. Col. Andrew Baker, commander of the 54th BEB, 173rd Abn. Bde. "Working alongside the Romanians throughout this entire training exercise has only strengthened our relationship for future operations. Without them, this training exercise would not be as successful as it has been for us."
The coordination and the execution of each airborne operations phase helps sustain combat readiness for each participating nation. Maintaining those combined capabilities to conduct a variety of military operations in Europe demonstrates the U.S. commitment to keeping Europe strong as well as developing combined standard operating procedures.
"Knowing that we all have the common knowledge of airborne operations strengthens our collective capabilities," said Cromer. "So, for future exercises with our NATO counterparts, it is nice to have a common operating picture."
As the Allied forces maneuvers through the small town outside of the objective, they reposition themselves to assault and seize the Romanian airfield. The opposition force, simulated by Romanian Soldier, patrolled the airfield gates but after a large firefight the multinational Soldiers breached and secured the airfield for the next training exercise.