Since the dawn of this great nation, the U.S. Army has been training and fighting alongside foreign militaries to accomplish common goals. Interoperability is the key on today’s battlefield.

Interoperability is the ability to make systems and organizations work together. This was evident by 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, and Company A, 11th Infantry Battalion, Royal Netherland’s army conducting a joint operational access exercise.

“We were nicely integrated into the American unit for this exercise,” said Sgt. Maj. Roy Egberts, sergeant major of Company A, 11th Infantry Battalion, Royal Netherlands army.  “This exercise was a trial run for us to see if we would do this on a yearly basis.”

During JOAX, paratroopers from 5th Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div., and paratroopers from the Royal Netherland’s army, conducted noncombatant evacuation operations on objective Bragg. This objective was located at West McKethan Pond, near the impact zone here.

“They fit right in from planning to execution and they were with us every step of the way,” said Lt. Col. Scott Nauman, commander of 5th Sqdn. , 73rd Cav. Regt. “They conducted every type of troop leading procedure we would expect from our own troopers and they executed it very well.”

The NEO started with paratroopers advancing on a town where American, Dutch, and Canadian citizens were waiting to be evacuated. When they made it to the town, they quickly secured the perimeter and then tended to the injured personnel.  Once the citizens were secured, the paratroopers called in the transport vehicles.

“It was an incredible exercise,” said Nauman. “The relationship we established with the Dutch will go along way for future partnerships.

“We’re a cavalry squadron and the Dutch brought a rifle company which is similar to the rifle companies we have in 1P and 2P so the fire power they brought, the man power they brought, and the ability to conduct different types offensive operations that maybe we weren’t as able to do on our own, allowed us to branch out and conduct other operations and support the brigade’s effort,” he added.

With the ever-evolving complexity on today’s battlefield, exercises like this where interoperability is the key for success; it is imperative that continued partnerships like the one between 3rd BCT and the Dutch continue far into the future.