PABRADE, Lithuania – The wind howled as the ground rumbled underfoot of 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment Troopers as M1 Abrams and Bradley Fighting Vehicles ripped through mud and snow-covered access road to Range 5 at the Pabrade Training Area, Lithuania. Human silhouettes huddled safely in the distance tucked under a tree line watched as the convoy occupied the battlefield.
“Get some,” yelled a Trooper from behind the range road as a fireball erupted from the main gun of the tank.
The battalion was determined to demonstrate the lethality of their Troopers and equipment in a simulated attack against a made-up enemy force located 3,000 meters away.
The Bradley vehicles were bathed in red and orange as gasses ignited from the main gun of “big brothers," the M1 Abrams, during the Dec. 22, 2020, mock battle.
“This is what we do, who we are … lethal,” said the Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Jesus Pena.
Due to the current Lithuanian Ministry of Health restrictions of movement in Lithuania, 2-8 Cav. Reg. is unable to train with local Lithuanian forces, German NATO-enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Lithuania or other U.S. allies or partners.
Though movement across the country is restricted, local Lithuanian senior military leadership we able to bear witness to the exercise. Isolated at the top of a range tower, the leadership remained separated from U.S. Soldiers and the possibility of spreading the virus to each other.
“We are here to provide combat-credible land forces and sustain our longstanding relationship and interoperability with Lithuania and our allies and partners,” said Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Steven Jackowski. “We are also good stewards of the local environment and health of our combined forces and the Lithuanian people.”
Though separated by Ministry of Health regulations U.S. military forces adhere to, 2-8 Cav. Reg. remains in a ready to state to begin training with Lithuania’s Motorized Infantry “Griffin” Brigade as well as allies and partner forces operating in the country once health restrictions are lifted.
“2-8 CAV will continue to plan joint, multinational training exercises with Lithuanian land forces and our NATO allies and partners,” Jackowski said. “We will train, fight and win together as one while ensuring all forces remain protected from the 2019 coronavirus.”