By Capt. Judith MarloweOctober 3, 2017
BEMOWO PISKIE TRAINING AREA, Poland- For the 2d Cavalry Regiment, a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise is not uncommon, but training in a 900 meter long trench as Apaches are flying over their heads is something they have never done.
U.S. Army Col. Patrick Ellis, commander of 2CR, had a vision to create a very realistic training environment and challenge Troop commanders in a variety of complex scenarios on difficult terrain.
"We dug into the asymmetric warfare training to study how some of our adversaries are fighting now," said Ellis. "This is very realistic training; if there is an incursion and our enemy decides to take ground, we would have to push them out, and that is what this training is about."
The 2CR Engineer Squadron made the vision into a reality. The engineers started building the trench in the middle of August 2017 and completed it the last week of September to have it ready for 2nd Squadron's live fire exercise.
"Forty people worked on this trench for 10 hours a day for 40 days," said 2nd Lt. Dave Truong, a platoon leader assigned to Regimental Engineer Squadron, 2CR. He added that the trench is 450 meters wide and 600 meters deep, which is larger than the range the Dragoons normally train on in the Grafenwoehr training area.
Currently, 2/2 CR is deployed to BPTA as one of four Battle Groups in the Eastern Baltic Region, with the other three battle groups located in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in support of enhanced Forward Presence. The Battle Group has about 1,200 U.S., U.K. and Romanian Soldiers with U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher L'Heureux, as the commander.
"We [2CR] are here as a result of the Warsaw summit," said Ellis. "What you see here is the physical manifestation."
The CALFEX began on Oct. 1 with Ghost Troop [company size element], 2/2CR, conducting a blank and live fire iteration during the day and also at night.
The Troop commanders were briefed that a platoon size enemy has pushed into and occupied NATO territory, and they must forcibly remove them, a scenario the Battle Group is familiar with since their mission is to deter and if necessary, defend the NATO alliance.
"Your adversary needs to believe you are capable to do what you said you will do," said Ellis. "What these guys are training for is demonstrating that capability. Their ability to respond quicky, to defend Poland if called to, and if necessary to push enemy forces out."
During this exercise, the Troops fired various weapon systems, to include a Mobile Gun System (a variant of a Stryker), Javelin, and a Bangalore Torpedo, which is used to clear paths through wire obstacles.
The next two days Echo Troop and Fox Troop successfully maneuvered through the live fire range, demonstrating their capability to defend the alliance if called to do so.
"I believe we are capable," Ellis stated. "This force is trained, ready, and resourced."