KIELCE, Poland (9/10/2021) — Members of the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team and 1st Combat Aviation Brigade participated in an international defense industry exhibition known as Międzynarodowy Salon Przemysłu Obronnego at Targi Kielce in Kielce, Poland.
MSPO, the third largest defense show in Europe, is a high-profile, international exhibition designed to showcase the latest land, sea, air, and national security defense systems and military projects to a highly specialized audience from the Polish and international community. More than 185 defense industry exhibitors from more than 15 countries participated.
The U.S. had more than 25 participating defense companies, bringing together business insiders from around the world, including heads of state and official government delegations.
The 1st Infantry Division represented the U.S. Army at the event, showcasing an M88A2 Improved Recovery Vehicle (Hercules), M1A2 SEP v2 Main Battle Tank (Abrams) and an AH-64E Attack Helicopter (Apache). This equipment represents 1ID’s armored and aviation rotational forces currently supporting Atlantic Resolve.
Atlantic Resolve consists of rotational units conducting bilateral, joint and multinational training events across more than a dozen countries. Atlantic Resolve is funded by the European Deterrence Initiative, which enables the U.S. to enhance deterrence, increase readiness and support NATO.
“It [U.S. Army participation in MSPO] shows that we’re willing to get out here and show what we’re capable of, even in just a ‘show’ setting,” Spc. Chase Schollmeyer, an AH-64E helicopter repairer assigned to 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, said.
The 1ID Soldiers were important to the event’s success being the subject matter experts on ground, engaging with not only members of Poland’s military, but leaders from other foreign militaries and representatives from companies like Boeing.
“It’s really important to give the right information to people that ask questions, so being a subject matter expert, I don’t want to misinform people,” Schollmeyer said. “Even though there might be a disconnect between the languages, I don’t speak Polish and they might not speak English very well, so being able to inform them with the correct information is what’s important to me and that’s what I try and do.”
The Abrams crew, led by 1st Lt. Kobe Miller, an armor officer with 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, was approached by the Polish Army’s Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Rajmund Andrzejczak. He asked Miller his opinion on why Poland would benefit from the Abrams. Miller said it’s the best tank in the world due to its resiliency and ability to operate in diverse environments.
In July, Poland announced they will purchase 250 Abrams tanks from the U.S., an investment totaling $6 billion.
The U.S. continues to be supportive of investments Poland is making to modernize its forces. With this ongoing reciprocated support among the U.S. and Poland, they are able to continue to build regional security and strengthen force capabilities through strategic events such as MSPO.
“It’s [participating in the trade show] very exciting. It’s a unique experience that most tankers and Soldiers don’t really get to experience,” Miller said. “It’s awesome to see the different types of technology that different defense industries are bringing to Poland.”
Anthony Sebrell, the armaments cooperation and trade show coordinator for U.S. Army Europe and Africa, explained many other strategic importances behind the trade show.
“The U.S. Army presence here through 1ID helps set the conditions for a lot of engagements and meetings that are happening behind the scenes, behind closed doors, between senior Army and senior DoD officials who are also here meeting with Polish senior leaders and senior leaders from other countries,” Sebrell said.
Events like MSPO provide a unique opportunity for the U.S. Army and Department of Defense as a whole to engage with allies and partners. They promote U.S. equipment and technology to encourage Foreign Military Sales, while supporting U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s strategy of enhancing interoperability.