BEMOWO PISKIE, Poland -- In the below-freezing morning hours, elements of the Battle Group Poland loaded up for the upcoming Exercise Puma, which aimed to test the broader capabilities of this multinational organization over the next four days.

The Polish-based battle group consists of the U.S. Army's 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, the Balaklava Troop of British Light Dragoons as additional reconnaissance, and two batteries of air defense artillery provided by Romania and Croatia.

3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment deployed to Poland last October in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, working alongside other units from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as a deterrence force to support NATO's eastern border.

"The PUMA exercise provided an opportunity for the Battle Group to deploy according to a 15th Mechanized Brigade order," said Battle Group Poland Operations Officer, U.S. Army Maj. Ryan Duffy. "We deployed our forces into the training areas and were able to test the plans we made through combined planning and rehearsals."

Exercise Puma began with an alert to the troops and involved the entire battle group leaving the base and assembling outside of the traditional training area provided by the host nation, Poland. The culminating event consisted of a Battle Group Poland live fire exercise where respective nations of the battle group systematically launched fire sequences, maneuver operations and close-air support operations through the objective.

"The exercise provided us an opportunity to test our Tactical Operations Center, planning standard operating procedures and current operations tracking procedures," said Duffy. "Each iteration of combined training has resulted in a better understanding of our allies and their tactics, techniques, and procedures, and we have ended this exercise with an increased ability to fight together with our allies."

Once subordinate units of the Battle Group Poland departed the training area and established secure battle positions, the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade acted as the higher command for the exercise and issued orders and key tasks for the exercise. Upon reception of these orders and key tasks, commanders and subordinate leaders initiated plans to accomplish the mission.

The U.S.-led squadron completes its final interoperability stress test with Bull Run IV next month, after which most of the multinational units of Battle Group Poland will redeploy to their home countries. The Battle Group Poland transfer of authority is scheduled in April. 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment will be the lead U.S. element replacing 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment as they redeploy to Germany and prepare for Saber Strike 18 in the summer.