SLOBOZIA, Romania - Saber Guardian 19 is an exercise about bringing allies together and working alongside each other in order to maintain relationships based on trust that is essential for ensuring global security.

The 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, based out of Fargo, North Dakota, conducted key leader engagements yesterday with the mayor, police and fire chiefs of Slobozia, Romania, on a Romanian military facility based in the town.

"Conducting key leader engagements are extremely important, the partnerships are important," said Col. Jon Erickson the commander of the 141st MEB who hosted the leader engagement. "We're here to train, but we also need to recognize that we have civilian partners too that support us and help make us successful, so this is an important engagement for me to do early."

The U.S. is unlikely to act alone in any given situation, which requires them to promote and develop interoperability. The relationships throughout Europe are critical in ensuring they can quickly support U.S. Europe Command and NATO efforts with flexibility and agility in order to address conventional and asymmetric threats wherever and whenever they materialize.

Erickson, who has been deployed multiple times throughout his career, has seen how important the support of local authorities can be. The meeting was important early in the exercise because the brigade received a lot of support from the local police who helped in escorting the convoys to their current area of operation.

"It's very realistic to an actual deployment that it is important to work with multi-national partners. That's what you have in this exercise and to be in Romania for many of my Soldiers it's a first," said Erickson.

During the engagement, Erickson and the rest of the 141st MEB command team showed the Slobozia leader's their military operations set up. The different areas and components that make-up the brigade, from the cooks' area to the chaplain's tent of worship.

A Maneuver Enhancement Brigade is a self-contained, modular, and multifunctional support brigade of the U.S. Army customized to meet whatever mission it receives. An MEB's primary purpose is to plug into operational formations commanded by corps or division commanders, to support brigade combat teams once deployed, and to conduct tactical level tasks and support.

"We've spent the last year training for it and so it's really the capstone of more than a years' worth of effort for them," explained Erickson. "It's extremely realistic. I can't think of a better way for us to train and prepare for any future deployment; it has just been tremendous so far."

The engagement is a short, but important part of the overall mission of the MEB in Romania.

Saber Guardian 19 is an exercise about bringing allies together to work alongside each other in order to maintain relationships based on trust that is essential for ensuring global security.