297th RSG supports WOJTEK Fire Exercise in Poland
By Capt. Jamia Odom, 297th Region Support GroupSeptember 26, 2020
BEMOWO PISKIE, Poland – Soldiers from the 297th Regional Support Group provided basic Soldier needs and services to units on BPTA leading up to and during NATO Battle Group Poland’s Live fire exercise WOJTEK FIRE, Sep. 15-17.Wojtek Fire is a multinational exercise that focuses on testing tactical interoperability and air to ground integration training among NATO allies comprising Battle Group Poland.“ The 297th RSG, had the pleasure of supporting the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade and the 101st Airborne Division leading up to the exercise by providing the needed requirements for flight equipment and life support functions which also included housing and meals,” said Sgt.1st Class Wayne Chaput, deputy mayor of Forward Operating Site BPTA.Spc. Sarah Meece, a staff member with the 297th RSG’s mayor cell at BPTA is a transportation movement request officer. She regularly handles movement requests for the BPTA Mayor Cell involving U.S. and multinational forces. During Wojtek, Meece coordinated with the 101st Airborne Division to ensure they were able to load their connexes on flatbed trucks and move them from site to site which ensured successful operations.“I am proud of the job we do, said Meece. It has been extremely rewarding and eye-opening working with the other nations. I feel like we are really making a difference.”Five U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopters from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, and supporting Atlantic Resolve units participated in the training along with their UK and Croatian allies in the Battlegroup.The Apaches had the opportunity to call for fire and observe fires from both the Battle Group’s Croatian MLRS and U.S. M777s Howitzer, artillery piece.The training also provided the Croatian, U.K. and U.S. forward observers the opportunity to work with the Apaches under day and night live-fire conditions. Interoperability is the ability to routinely act together coherently, effectively, and efficiently to achieve tactical, operational, and strategic objectives between U.S. allies which is a main focus of the WOJTEK Fire exercise.From the battle group, the British Legion Troop, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers were responsible for controlling the fire of U.S. 101st Airborne AH 64 Apache helicopters, while forward observers adjusted fire from Croatian rockets and U.S. artillery.Pvt. Qoeli Jimenz, a radio communications specialist from the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Calvary Regiment, had the opportunity to work closely with British allies during the exercise.“My role in the exercise was to provide beyond line of site communications for the fire support element” stated Jimenez, while discussing his involvement and lessons learned, “I learned how to use the TVB which is the tactical voice bridge between US HF radios and UK HF radios.”Working with a multinational task force can be rewarding but can also be challenging.“Even though there are language barriers sometimes between our different countries we still find a way to ensure the mission gets completed.” Pvt. Jimenez said. When discussing rewarding moments. “I had loads of fun interacting with the different countries telling stories and making jokes.”During WOJTEK FIRE, allied nations worked side-by-side, whether through planning or through using each other's equipment to achieve the goal of this operation.“This training exercise successfully enhanced the battle groups readiness and demonstrated a broad set of capabilities available to the battle group and the potential for future integration among of NATO allies in training,” said Maj. Bradley Hutchison, operations officer of NATO Battle Group Poland.