ZAGAN, Poland — A thunderous boom rang out as the combination of plastic explosives and TNT, planted in the earth, erupted with a violent explosion which hurled fragments of earth into the air. The explosion shook the ground under the Soldiers’ feet which brought smiles to their faces.
The planned explosion was initiated by Polish soldiers assigned to the 2nd Engineer Battalion, 5th Engineer Regiment, and U.S. Soldiers with the 82nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. Both units are participating in a 13-day training event called Bull Eagle at the Drawsko Pomorskie training area near Oleszno, Poland, which began Nov. 19.
“We are out here with a Polish engineer company which has one sapper platoon and one (explosive ordnance disposal) platoon,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Richard Irwin, platoon leader with Company B, 82nd BEB. “We are using their training and tactics to see the similarities between our own tactics.”
The 2nd ABCT assures NATO allies and deters aggression by demonstrating and sustaining maximum proficiency and readiness in its warfighting functions, tasks and drills by conducting training with U.S. allies and partners. Proficiency in tasks and drills is attained gradually.
“The first few days we would train with fake demolition, and they (the Polish soldiers) would show us their way of doing things,” said U.S. Army Pfc. Jhovany Huizar, a combat engineer assigned to the 82nd BEB. “Then the next day we would use live explosives.”
The main focus of Bull Eagle was the use of explosive methods and tactics to disable tracked-vehicles.
“One of the days we did mines,” said Huizar. “We broke off into two teams (comprised of Polish and U.S. soldiers) and trained the Polish way of digging, marking and placing the anti-tank mines.”
Bull Eagle demonstrates the U.S.’s commitment to its NATO allies and partners, and sends a powerful message to potential adversaries of our resolve to preserve security and stability in the region.
“This type of training, with a coalition or joint force, helps to show that as NATO allies we are not against working together, in fact we like to train together to prepare for any future mission we need to conduct,” said Irwin.