Allied Forces North Battalion leaders develop plan for coming year
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Col. Bonnie S. Kovatch, Allied Forces North Battalion commander, discusses the battalion's mission and purpose with the battalion’s five company commanders during a breakout session at the unit’s planning meeting in Szczecin, Poland. (Photo Credit: Troy Darr) VIEW ORIGINAL
Allied Forces North Battalion leaders develop plan for coming year
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Gina Marasco and Sgt. 1st Class Joshua White, from the Allied Forces North Battalion S3 section, prepare for the battalion’s upcoming organizational inspection program during a breakout session at the battalion’s planning meeting in Szczecin, Poland. (Photo Credit: Troy Darr) VIEW ORIGINAL
Allied Forces North Battalion leaders develop plan for coming year
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Audrianna Overton-Peterson, Allied Forces North Battalion S1 noncommissioned officer in charge, records key training activities during a battalion planning session in Szczecin, Poland. (Photo Credit: Troy Darr) VIEW ORIGINAL

SZCZECIN, Poland – Commanders, senior noncommissioned officers and staff principles from Allied Forces North Battalion converged on this Polish city on the Oder River to plan the unit’s activities for the coming year August 16-17.

The battalion supports the NATO mission in Europe by ensuring individual readiness through training, logistics and human resources for roughly 600 Soldiers and their families assigned to U.S. and NATO military units in 13 countries across northern Europe.

The battalion provides support to U.S. Soldiers assigned to NATO units through command and control of five U.S. Army companies based in Belgium, Germany and Poland.

“AFNorth Battalion gathered this week in Szczecin, Poland in order to hold the FY (Fiscal Year) 23 Battalion Planning Conference,” said Lt. Col. Bonnie S. Kovatch. “This conference was important for us to look at first and second quarter, specifically, and align all of our training requirements, prioritize them with our supported NATO population and nest those training requirements with our higher headquarters.”

After completing the rough draft of their plan on August 17, the leaders visited NATO’s Multinational Corps Northeast headquarters for a command brief that included some of the challenges faced by the small contingent of U.S. Soldiers assigned to support the three-star NATO headquarters.

MNC Northeast is part of the NATO force structure and serves as a regionally focused headquarters prepared to take the lead of Allied operations across the northeastern flank of NATO as a land component command. The corps operates as a high-readiness force headquarters to reinforce NATO’s rapid reaction capability and as a military key guarantor for peace in the Baltic Sea region.

The headquarters also provides unity of command for NATO activities across Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. As the highest NATO command in the region, MNC Northeast has assigned responsibility for the NATO ground troops already deployed to the northeastern flank of the Alliance. If called on, the corps is ready to command and control many more, including the land units of the NATO Response Force.

MNC Northeast and its subordinate units train for defensive operations to effectively deter any attack and to defend the Alliance's northeastern territory against any aggressor.

“It was important we did this in Szczecin, Poland, with our co-located Charlie Company headquartered at MNC Northeast as we gained an important perspective on how our disparate companies and their supported populations operate,” said Kovatch.

The participants rounded out the training event with a three-hour historical tour of some key locations in Berlin to include Checkpoint Charlie, a key crossing point of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War; the Topography of Terror, an open-air history museum that highlights some of the worst atrocities of the Nazi regime; and the location of the air raid shelter used by Hitler in the waning days of World War II.

Additionally, during spare moments in the planning sessions the battalion officers worked on communication products to support the Army’s ongoing “Decide to Lead” communication campaign emphasizing that officer training and benefits are a powerful complement to a college education, preparing motivated youth to succeed and lead in any environment.

The communication campaign also supports the Army’s efforts to increase leadership diversity by recruiting officers who represent projected demographics of the U.S. population in 2050.

Allied Forces North Battalion commanders, senior noncommissioned officers and staff principles assembled August 16th and 17th in Poland to develop a plan for the coming year.