By Spc. Jerry WilsonSeptember 20, 2007
WEDRZYN TRAINING AREA, POLAND - Polish Land Forces here received a lesson in theater security straight from subject matter experts: U.S. Soldiers they will be working with when they deploy for Operation Enduring Freedom later this year.
A three-man U.S. contingency from the Afghanistan-based Task Force Paladin shared their downrange experiences while participating in exercise Immediate Response 07.
"We are working with the Polish battle group to help prepare them for rigors they are going to face in Afghanistan (while) conducting operations," said team member Maj. Gabriel Barton, adding that interoperability training is crucial for coalition partners. "It is very important for us to be working on the same page. In Afghanistan, they will be working with us as part of our brigade combat team."
This Polish battalion-size formation will be teaming directly with U.S. forces and "next to my battalion area of operations," Barton said.
The major added that one of his rifle companies will be attached to the Polish unit and one of their units will be working directly for him.
Accompanying Barton is Sgt. Maj. Robert Priest, senior enlisted member and counter improvised explosive device trainer for Joint Task Force Paladin, who noted the importance of the Poles training with their U.S. counterparts before deploying
"This gives them the chance to incorporate what we've taught them into their standard operating procedures," he explained.
Priest noticed many similarities between U.S. and Polish Soldiers
"I see the same dedication toward (meeting) the mission and the work ethic," he said. "They are out here everyday, working hard. This is an army that wants to learn and they are eager," Priest said.
Rounding out the trio from Task Force Paladin is Capt. Tim Healy, the assistant brigade intelligence officer for Combined Task Force Fury in Afghanistan.
He said taking lessons learned by units serving in Afghanistan now and sharing them with replacements was paramount, as "the sooner we can work with them, the smoother the transition will be when they change out with the current unit."
The captain added that verbal communication was one of only a handful of challenges they faced during training.
However, "we talk the universal language of security," Healy said. "The Polish force understands this and we have a common ground to work from."