CINCU, Romania — The Joint National Training Center in Cincu, Romania, is a critical training area for U.S. Army Soldiers and their North Atlantic Treaty Organization nation counterparts to build upon their relationships, and tactically integrate with other militaries of NATO. U.S. Army Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment “Iron Rangers,” 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, participated in this partnership building Sept. 22 - 27, at the Joint National Training Center.
During the week, the 1st Infantry Division Soldiers executed a multitude of situational training exercises that incorporated foreign service members from Portugal, Poland, and Romania. These exercises ranged from key leader engagement scenarios and tactical patrols, to securing strategic objectives.
“I was the platoon leader for 2nd Platoon,” said 1st Lt. Raine Ryerson, Alpha Company, 1-16th IN ,1st ABCT, 1st ID. “My job was to control the flow and the tempo of the platoon conducting their mission. Calling in assets when I need to and feeding information to the foreign national commander.”
For many of the U.S. Soldiers this was their first time working with the Portuguese Armed Forces. U.S. Army Pfc. Alexis Lima, assigned to Alpha Company, 1-16th IN, 1st ABCT, 1st ID, participated in a Key Leader Engagement scenario with Portuguese soldiers.
“I really enjoyed today's training and it was really cool working with a foreign military,” Lima said. “My favorite part was just being able to do something different. Usually I’m a rifleman or grenadier, but today I got to assist in the capture and securing of enemy prisoners of war.”
Interoperability is more than just equipment and systems, it is about processes and relationships as well. Training like this gives the opportunity for multiple nations to integrate and communicate in order to assess each nation’s capabilities and the ways in which their tactics differ. This helps bridge the challenges of language barriers and cultural differences.
“Training with the U.S. Soldiers was a very good opportunity for all of my soldiers and myself,” said Luis Silva, a company commander in the Portuguese Army. “It is very beneficial to be able to share information and knowledge on how we can work together and learn from each other. This way we can prove our capacity to work together like our NATO partnership calls for.”
After multiple days of situational training lanes, the week wrapped up with a multinational live-fire exercise. The live-fire incorporated service members from the U.S., Romania, Portugal and Poland.
This training was a building block that the “Iron Rangers” will use to prepare for their upcoming exercise at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels Training Area, Germany. It is there that the Soldiers of 1-16th IN, 1st ABCT, 1st ID, will participate in an extended multinational field training exercise.
As the “Iron Rangers" continue their nine-month Atlantic Resolve rotation, the battalion continually seeks opportunities to build upon these partnerships and enhance interoperability.
“Interoperability is very important to us because we are here as a part of NATO, and we are trying to build stability and peace throughout all of Europe,” Ryerson said. “I think when we get a chance to work with other nations it makes them more confident in our abilities and allows us to see what they bring to the table as well.”
The deployment of ready, combat-credible U.S. forces to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve is evidence of the strong and unremitting U.S. commitment to NATO and Europe. Through continuous, multinational training and security cooperation activities, Atlantic Resolve builds readiness, increases interoperability and enhances the bond between ally and partner militaries.