173rd IBCT (ABN) paratroopers march to meet-up point
U.S. Army paratroopers, assigned to the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team- Airborne (173rd IBCT ABN), march to their rally point after conducting a Joint Forceable Entry mission into the Hohenfels Training Area during Exercise Saber Junction 22 at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Sept. 7, 2022. Saber Junction 22 is a combat training rotation designed to assess the readiness of the 173rd IBCT (ABN) in executing operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allied and partner nations. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Dana Clarke) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Dana M Clarke) VIEW ORIGINAL

HOHENFELS, Germany — Saber Junction 22 has officially begun at the Hohenfels Training Area and involves more than 4,400 participants from the U.S., Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

The Saber Junction exercise series is held annually at 7th Army Training Command’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center as part of U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s exercise plans to assess the readiness of European-based units, like the 173rd Airborne Brigade “Sky Soldiers,” to execute unified land operations in a joint, combined environment with participating Allied and partner nations.

The 7th Army Training Command and its combat training center, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, are uniquely positioned in Europe to routinely host these types of multinational exercises throughout the year to build Army and partner nation readiness. Participants work through realistic scenarios together in a live maneuver space, building relationships across borders that could be called into action in a crisis.

This year, members of U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa are supporting the 173rd Airborne Brigade as the exercise higher command. The Southern European Task Force, Africa provides a scalable joint task force headquarters capability to U.S. Africa Command, and since 2020, has training and readiness authority over the 173rd’s “Sky Soldiers.”

“It’s a great multinational exercise,” said Southern European Task Force, Africa Director of Operations Col. Timothy Shaffer. “We’ve got a number of multinational Allies and partners that are here operationally inside the box working with the 173rd.”

The 173rd Airborne Brigade serves as the U.S. Army's contingency response force in Europe and is based in both Italy and Germany. This exercise is designed to test the brigade internally as well as assess its ability to work alongside NATO allies and partners to build interoperability and strengthen alliances.

During the exercise, the Sky Soldiers will also work with other Europe-based U.S. Army units like 12th Combat Aviation Brigade; 1st Battalion 214th General Support Aviation Regiment; 16th Sustainment Brigade; 18th Military Police Brigade; and 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery, as well as some supporting units from the continental U.S.

The Saber Junction series promotes regional stability and security, strengthens partner capabilities, allows the U.S. to field the most modern equipment for all missions, and builds interoperability and cooperation between NATO Allies and partners.