RULKA, Lithuania — “This is why we are here; to work side by side with our NATO allies and show how effective we can be as a united front,” said Sgt. Shaun Hollenkamp, 2nd Battalion 8th Cavalry Regiment.
2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team participated in the 12-day, multinational exercise IRON WOLF on May 30. This annual exercise is executed to test readiness, share bests practices, and further hone interoperability among NATO allies.
“It is awesome to be a part of such a large military operation that includes so many different nations,” Hollenkamp, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle section sergeant, added.
The multinational Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Lithuania were the facilitators of the exercise. 2nd Batt., 8th Cav. Reg rapidly integrated a company-sized element within the Lithuanian Armed Forces, before serving as the opposing force, led by the Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group.
“The multinational presence in the Baltic region in support of our Lithuanian friends is a powerful symbol of NATO's unreserved solidarity,” said Lt. Col. Sebastian Hebisch, EFP Lithuania commander.
About 4,000 service members from the United States, NATO allies and European partnered countries were involved in the multi-echelon training event.
“I can assure you that the men and women of Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Lithuania – whether they are from Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Czech Republic – are doing an outstanding job. We will continue to make an essential contribution to the defense of the eastern flank of the Alliance in Lithuania," Hebisch added.
Capt. Jake Andvik, commander, B Company “Eager Arms,” 2nd Batt., 8th Cav. Reg., placed Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and dismounted troopers in battle positions throughout the Lithuanian forest in preparation for the force-on-force field training exercise.
“We met our goal across the board. Between the joint operations in maneuvering, attacking, and defending; interoperability with our NATO allies continues to improve," said Andvik.
The training schedule called for designated days in which certain forces would be the attacking element versus a defending force with the mission of holding key terrain on the battlefield.
"Our NATO partners’ tactical skills and professionalism played a key role in our missions’ success,” Andvik added. “This multinational joint training provided me the opportunity to connect with leadership amongst our NATO partners as well as test the adaptability of my Troopers on the battlefield. It was an honor to be a part of such massive exercise and a great way to end our rotation here in Lithuania,” said Andvik