The relationships forged with European allies and partners over the past seven decades are built on a foundation of shared values, experiences, and trust. As the 1st Cavalry Division Forward arrived in Poland to take over as the Mission Command Element for Atlantic Resolve, they’ve also taken every precaution to ensure they are protecting host nations from the spread of COVID-19.
The First Team’s efforts to stay ahead of COVID-19 started back at home in Texas, but have also continued in Poland, and encompass more than just Fort Hood Soldiers.
“Before we left, every Soldier had a mandatory 14-day home quarantine at Fort Hood, as well as a COVID-19 test four days before flying,” said Maj. William Gehlen, 1CD FWD surgeon.
The team travelled on a plane large enough for them to adhere to social distancing during the flight. Then all 1CD FWD Soldiers received a second COVID-19 test upon arrival in-country. Once the team was notified the entire group had tested negative, they moved on to Poznan where the MCE headquarters is located.
Once the First Team had made sure all their Troopers were safe from COVID-19, they turned their attention to the training audience entering the country. To ensure the training environment stays safe for all service members involved in Defender 20+, COVID-19 testing for all personnel living at Drawsko Pomorski Training Area will occur as well as a third test for the 1CD FWD personnel who travel back to DPTA for the exercise. So far each Soldier has seen negative results from the tests.
“Our reference document for navigating Defender 20+ is the 7th Army Training Command COVID playbook,” said Maj. Gehlen. “This includes many additional measures to keep our troops safe during exercises.”
These additional measures include checkpoints at every base with COVID screenings, limited use of off-post facilities, and limited seating in dining facilities to ensure proper social distancing is maintained.
“The goal is to not only keep our Soldiers safe from COVID, but the population of Poland as well,” said Gehlen. “We aren’t having a lot of interaction with them right now as an additional preventative measure, and ensuring it doesn’t spread helps beat COVID faster.”