Over 14,000 active-duty, Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers spent the summer months in Europe partaking in the United States Army European Command’s Saber Guardian 17 exercise throughout the Republic of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
Saber Guardian, the largest of 18 multinational exercises occurring in the Black Sea Region this summer demonstrates that the U.S. and its allies and partners can quickly mass at times and locations of their choosing to deter and defend against aggression.
“The training helps promote regional stability, security, trust, interoperability and strengthen partnership among the Black Sea countries,” explained Spc. Abdullateef Lawal, movement control specialist, Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment, 330th Transportation Battalion.
The large scale exercise and others like it allow NATO countries the opportunity to train and learn together in order to better coordinate and synchronize our military efforts, said 2nd Lt. Christopher Biehl, military police officer, HHD, 330th Trans. Bn.
“It reassures our allies that the United States is committed to NATO and the collective security of Europe,” he added.
The 330th Transportation Bn., 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command was one of the first sustainment units to serve as a rotational response force supporting United States Army Europe’s Operation Atlantic Resolve. They assisted in coordinating the movement and tracking personnel and supplies entering and exiting the region in support of the exercise, explained Biehl.
“Soldiers coordinate with host nations to grant U.S. Forces permissions to transport personnel and equipment by land, air and sea to ensure uninterrupted flow of combat power,” he said.
Saber Guardian is an annual exercise comprised of more than 25,000 Soldiers from 22 partner nations. According to Staff. Sgt. Patrick Letts, movements noncommissioned officer, 261st Movement Control Team, 330th Trans. Bn., Saber Gurdian demonstrates collective training that builds readiness and improves interoperability to support the security and stability of the Black Sea Region.
Operation Atlantic Resolve demonstrates the United States’ commitment to the collective security of eastern Europe through the deployment of rotational U.S. forces in cooperation with NATO Allies and partner nations.
Rotational force units provide a persistent presence to strengthen the NATO Alliance, deter regional threats and respond to crisis.
The unit was faced with the challenge of ensuring movement of military assets within nine sovereign nations.
“(The unit encountered) different countries that all have different sets of laws and approval timeline for diplomatic clearances of military assets,” said Lawal. “This greatly slows down rapid speed of assembly of military assets throughout the area of operations.”
The unit overcame the challenges by strategically placing liaison notification officers inside of the host nation’s National Movement Coordination Centers, explained Letts.
“Our NMCC teams are able to provide a better understanding to our host nation partners of U.S. units’ intents for movement and help coordinate with host nations to grant U.S. convoys permission to travel while de-conflicting train, air and land issues” he added.
It helped speed up diplomatic clearance approval rates, address host nation concerns and build a better understanding between nations, said Lawal.
Over the past three months the “Heart of the Dragon” Battalion drastically reduced the wait time for diplomatic clearances approval of military personnel and equipment through Europe’s Baltic States.
“Our greatest accomplishment is the success in deploying and redeploying over 14,000 personnel and 8,000 pieces of equipment from Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania,” Biehl explained.