CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- U.S. Army sustainers provided key logistics support to their fellow joint service members required to sustain operations throughout the bilateral military exercise known as Juniper Falcon 2023 (JF23), recently held between the U.S. and Israel militaries.
The Juniper exercise series, including Juniper Oak 23-2 which was completed in January, consists of U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) components and members of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) to enhance interoperability. The Juniper series was designed to improve coordination between the U.S. and Israeli militaries and was conducted as part of a strategic agreement between the USCENTCOM and the IDF to hold annual training exercises.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Juan Alcantara, noncommissioned officer in charge with the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, shared the importance of cooperation between everyone involved as a key to success. “The mission is very important, especially knowing its concept of operation. It took multiple units to accomplish this mission and without them, it wouldn’t have been possible. From the lowest to the highest, it was a team effort. It was all hands on deck and we got it done,” Alcantara said.
JF23 was cooperatively planned over the last year, involving more than 250 personnel from the U.S. military and a similar number of IDF personnel. The exercise achieved its goals by enabling participants to learn from each other’s knowledge and experience.
Spc. Fabian Pereabarco, movement control specialist with the 948th Movement Control Team (MCT), expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to participate in JF23. “Overall, Juniper Falcon has been marvelous. The opportunity of training with the Israeli Defense Force, which presented themselves with great professionalism, is an unforgettable experience. For me, this was truly a learning experience, I learned a lot while working with the Israelis, including some history, the different types of food, and their language,” Pereabarco explained.
Soldiers participating in joint exercises like Juniper Oak 23-2 and JF23 are immersed in many cultures, from the exposure to the joint operating environment to partner nations militaries. Similarly, these exercises assess Soldiers’ proficiency in their military occupational specialties. U.S. Army sustainers provided the important function in movement of personnel and equipment throughout the area of operation.
“Being tactically proficient for this mission means understanding how to move within a convoy, such as utilizing proper spacing between vehicles, knowing the capabilities of the vehicles within the movement, and understanding how to best navigate unknown terrain while mitigating risk and injury,” said Sgt. Michael Fernandez, NCOIC with the 948th MCT.