US Army, NATO Allies conduct weapons familiarization
Portuguese soldiers assigned to the Portuguese Military Contingent, examine the U.S. Army M4 Carbine weapon system during Exercise Justice Eagle 22, at Smardan Training Area, Romania, Sept. 17, 2022. Under command and control of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment continues to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises like Justice Eagle with Allies and partners across the European continent to reassure our Nation’s Allies. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Pfc. Destinee Rodriguez) VIEW ORIGINAL

SMARDAN TRAINING AREA, Romania – U.S. Soldiers assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, alongside NATO Allies and security partners, participated in exercise Justice Eagle 22, Sept. 16-22.

Justice Eagle is an annual, multinational training event, which takes place in Romania, and focuses on increasing the trust, readiness, and interoperability of participating NATO Allies. Each country is tasked with executing company-level training exercises with the goal of creating cohesion and integration into the Romanian Defense Forces.

“We want to integrate other countries into our training and use each other’s cultures and experiences to share and create a cohesive unit,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Maggie Ramsey, an Alpha Company platoon leader. “We really had to understand that we’re all different but also very similar at the same time.”

Countries worked closely throughout the Exercise

The U.S. worked alongside soldiers from France, which is part of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup in Romania, Poland's and Portugal's military contingents, and Romania's 20th Infantry Battalion.

“Our company hosted a Polish platoon and one of ours was sent to the Portuguese,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alex Juarez, a platoon sergeant assigned to participating armor unit.

US Army, NATO Allies conduct ROC Drill at Justice Eagle
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Wyatt Morrison (right), a platoon leader assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat, 4th Infantry Division, stands with Portuguese counterparts during a rehearsal of concept drill during Exercise Justice Eagle 22, at Smardan Training Area, Romania, Sept. 18, 2022. Under command and control of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment continues to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises like Justice Eagle with Allies and partners across the European continent to reassure our Nation’s Allies. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Pfc. Destinee Rodriguez) VIEW ORIGINAL

US and NATO Allies conducted a ROC Drill at Justice Eagle

Each country had its own method of preparation and training timeline prior to the exercise. The U.S. took the month prior to train and certify each of its Soldiers participating in the exercise to ensure troops could dive straight into the integrated portion of training.

“We had to complete certain certifications such as squad live fire, platoon live fire, and gunnery,” Ramsey said. “We had to get our unit up to standard and ready to hit the ground running.”

Familiarization of different equipment and weapon systems

Once on the ground, the integration of troops began with familiarization of the different equipment and weapon systems each country planned to utilize. Each country showcased their standard weapon systems, fighting vehicles, and squad formations and movements.

Various media outlets got a chance to learn more with a multinational static display and a rehearsal of the culminating event. Subject matter experts from each country presented and answered questions on the vehicles and weapon systems on display. The U.S. showcased an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, as well as the M4 Carbine and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The event concluded with a CF-18 Hornet flyover from the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Wrapping up the week-long exercise, the combined arms live-fire exercise demonstrated the partner nations’ abilities of complete unilateral and integrated notional missions in a simulated combat environment.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kristofer Vasquez, an infantryman assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, briefs Portuguese soldiers on U.S. weapon systems during Exercise Justice Eagle, at Smardan Training Area, Romania, on Sept. 17, 2022. Under command and control of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment continues to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises like Justice Eagle with Allies and partners across the European continent to reassure our Nation’s Allies.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kristofer Vasquez, an infantryman assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, briefs Portuguese soldiers on U.S. weapon systems during Exercise Justice Eagle, at Smardan Training Area, Romania, on Sept. 17, 2022. Under command and control of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment continues to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises like Justice Eagle with Allies and partners across the European continent to reassure our Nation’s Allies. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Pfc. Destinee Rodriguez) VIEW ORIGINAL

“We started with the Bradley gunnery table and moved into dismounted capabilities and maneuver training," Juarez shared. “The objective of the live-fire was to force multiply our interoperability with our Allied partners.”

The CALFEX showcased multinational capabilities through joint maneuvers, dismounts and tactical procedures. By completing the objectives, each country expressed that they improved the confidence, communication and interoperability between themselves and their partner counterparts.

Training exercises, such as Justice Eagle, remain an important part of ensuring the interoperability of NATO Allies and partners.

“I think exercises like Justice Eagle build cohesion not only in Europe, but worldwide,” said Ramsey. “It establishes a strong foothold with each other and shows the rest of the world that we can work properly together.”