By Staff Sgt. Wallace BonnerJune 11, 2018
HOHENFELS TRAINING AREA, Germany -- Soldiers from 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, conducted their last training event with Polish Allies, working with the Polish 12th Mechanized Division during Combined Resolve at HTA, April 15 through May 9.
The 2nd ABCT has been training with Polish forces since their arrival last September, with their initial staging bases located in Poland. Since then, every battalion in the brigade has worked with them at one point or another, training on river crossings, demolitions, small-arms proficiency and armored combat maneuvers among other things.
"We have a commitment to the NATO Alliance; for that to be credible, we have to train together to show we're a capable alliance," said Col. David Gardner, 2nd ABCT commander. "Training together allows us both to be better at what we do."
The multinational exercise, Combined Resolve, was a capstone of the sustained training 2nd ABCT conducted alongside Polish allies throughout their deployment. During the exercise, "Dagger" brigade was commanded by the Polish 12th Mech. Div., which served as the brigade's division command element.
The brigade also commanded a Polish battalion, the 3rd Motorized Infantry Battalion, 12th Mech. Brigade, which provided another maneuver force to the brigade's task organization for the exercise.
Gardner openly commended the capability of the multinational elements his brigade worked with, highlighting the contribution of their elements.
"We know we're going to win (during force-on-force) because we have the Polish, and they are tough, and so are the Georgians and the Albanians," he said.
The brigade experienced significant success during the exercise, reaching every objective, employing the full capabilities of the brigade and attached multinational allies and partners to great effect against the opposing force.
Many of the brigade's Soldiers appreciated the unique opportunity to work with allies, including the officers in the brigade plans section.
"It was a great opportunity to work with the Polish 12th Mech. Div., and practice interoperability with our Polish allies" said Capt. Brett Krueger, planner, 2nd ABCT. "It has been a great training event and experience overall, and I personally look forward to any opportunities to work with our Polish allies in the future."
The bilateral and multinational training the brigade conducted throughout their rotation left a lasting mark on the members of the organization.
"We talk about how small the Army is in terms of people you know," Gardner said. "What I realize is, I often run into more and more allied officers I know, or that know some of the same people I know.
"So, I think the alliance is actually getting smaller in terms of the people we know."
The 2nd ABCT will complete their redeployment to Fort Riley by the end of June. Their deployment was the second iteration of an armored brigade combat team to arrive in Europe under Atlantic Resolve for a nine-month rotation. They are replaced by 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas, whose Soldiers and equipment began arriving in May.
The two brigade's presence, movement and training across Europe are intended to continue providing a tangible demonstration of the U.S.' commitment to NATO and European security while deterring aggression against allies and partners in the region.