That’s a wrap as they say in Hollywood, or so I’ve heard. Eighteen months of planning, training, and effort finished with the after action review.
It was strange, but unlike other events, there was an odd feeling that hung over the group. It was there in the background from beginning to end and I sensed it too. It was like your last week of high school or college. You worked all this time to finish. You couldn’t wait to get to the end to see fruits of your labor. But, now you are at the finish line and you wish it wasn’t really over. I suppose exercises do mimic real life.
I used the phrase “that’s a wrap”, and interestingly enough, as an exercise control group member it felt like a movie production. Overall, the training audience members performed exceptionally. Scattered throughout moments of perfection, there were moments that required do-overs, problems that were solved, problems that were never implemented, products made and products revised. The training audience was pushed unusually hard, beyond their normal limits, yet to a person, everyone believed they were fortunate to have participated. It wasn’t only the training audience that felt fortunate to participate, I did as well.
One of EUCOM's missions is to build partner capacity, I believe we did that by helping the three Adriatic Nations gain interoperability amongst the participants, increase familiarity within the complexity of support to a brigade-size task force in an out-of-area operation, and promote cooperation and coordination amongst the three Nations' logistics staffs.
Let’s face it, there is nothing easy about planning to move thousands of people as well as ships full of equipment, real or notional, to another continent. These officers and non-commissioned officers still had to put in the same planning, create the “what if” contingency plans, spend hours of coordination, and learn how to solve problems as they arose.
There is no doubt that Croatian, Macedonian, and Albanian logisticians can be called on if their Nations’ are asked to participate in a future NATO-led mission. I know they will perform magnificently and will enhance that operation, and that is what it is about. An operation is always easier if there is trust amongst the various entities and a common understanding. I feel that everyone came out of the exercise better knowing one another, they have a better grasp of logistics complexities, and they can do it using NATO doctrine.
So, the exercise is over and we will go our separate ways; however, the memories and friendships made here will go on well into the future. We all learned, we all grew, and we are better off for having been a part of the LOGEX 09.
Hvala and Gëzuar to my new Adriatic Friends.
MAJ Steve Wilke