For the first time, elements of 2CR and 173rd Airborne Brigade conducted a Joint Force Entry (JFE) exercise, in collaboration with NATO allies, to kick off Saber Junction 17 at Hradcany Air Field, Czech Republic, April 29, 2017.
Maneuvering through challenging terrain as Stryker mounted Dragoons seize an objective was status quo for Troopers assigned to 2d Cavalry Regiment. However, delivering that combat power through an air-land operation was something that had never been done before.
“Once on ground we executed our mission and fought like we normally do,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Atwood, weapons squad leader, 1st Platoon, Kronos Troop, 3rd Squadron. “The difference is how we got here.”
2CR Stryker Interim Vehicles rolled off the ramp of a C-17 Globemaster at Hradcany Airfield, Czech Republic, secured by paratroopers assigned to Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 503D Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade, demonstrating that interoperability between the two Army elements has no limits - on land or in the sky.
From infill to ex-fill the two platoons worked in tandem to rapidly secure key infrastructure to allow buildup of combat power in the operational training scenario.
“We’re used to riding our vehicles to the fight,” said Spc. Matthew Hoyle, 3/2 CR. “But, being able to roll out of an aircraft combat ready has added a different element to our maneuver capability.”
The five phase exercise included a joint airborne operation and airfield seizure with the Czech Republic Army enabling 2CR forces to air land, conduct a forward passage of lines and assemble onto an objective. Once on ground, the motorized infantry combat capabilities of 2CR Troopers were put to the test.
Vehicles maneuvered through the training area where Troopers encountered a simulated Improvised Explosive Device, or IED, reacted to contact as well as assessed and treated casualties.
As part of Exercise Saber Junction 17, the directed combat training center rotation for 2CR that includes approximately 4,500 participants from 13 Allied and Partnership for Peace nations, provides realistic joint operations training, like JFE, to combine capabilities across lines and Allies. The exercise is designed to assess the readiness of the regiment to conduct unified land operations, with a particular emphasis on rehearsing the transition from garrison to combat operations and exercise operational and tactical decision-making skills.
“Our training here tested our ability to synchronize communications, coordinate fires, and adjust timelines on the spot,” said 2nd Lt. John Sonza, platoon leader, 1st Platoon, Kronos Troop, 3/2. “But foremost, it proved that we can receive a 96-hour alert and be in a different country conducting a mission.”