BEMOWO PISKIE, Poland – NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland and Polish 15 Mechanized Brigade completed another iteration of the multinational rapid response exercise, Bull Run 10, Sep. 18-19.
“This exercise promotes the readiness of not only the battle group, but our interoperability with our Polish brethren,” said U.S. Cpt. Philip Wright, commander of the mechanized infantry L Troop.
NATO eFP BG POL is a multinational task force including Croatia, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States to increase interoperability among allies and support Poland. The 3/278th ACR includes Army National Guard troops from Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
The drill began with an alert to the troops and led to the battle group relocating to an assembly area outside the training area provided by the host nation, Poland. From the battle group, the U.K. provided reconnaissance operations, while Croatia and Romania simulated supporting fire elements. The U.S. and Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade were the leading units during this exercise.
“The purpose of this operation is to test our ability in receiving an alert, rapidly deploying and working together in responding to any potential threat,” Wright said.
M1 Abrams tanks traveled along roads to the designated assembly area.
“Historically we’ve put vehicles on Heavy Equipment Traveling Systems, or other movement assets and moved them to the location,” said Lt. Col. Mark P. O’Neill, BG POL commander. “This is the first time we have actually gone cross country, and we did it with relative ease!”
The exercise required elaborate coordination and communication within the battle group and with the Polish military and local authorities. One obstacle was a wet gap crossing where U.S. track vehicles such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle crossed a bridge provided by Polish engineers.
“Leading up to this exercise, we practiced a numerous amount of times with each other’s equipment to ensure a successful operation,” Cpt. Yinka Adesubokan, U.S. engineer officer, said of the wet gap crossing. “Interoperability such as this works because no matter where you go, engineering is engineering because math is universal.”
“This was successful because we ‘spoke the same language’ and were able to visualize the same end state,” Adesubokan said. During the exercise, components from the battle group also participated in a static display in the town of Augustow.
“It was a great experience – the kids were so excited to climb all over our vehicles and try on our helmets and equipment, smiling and laughing with us the entire time,” stated Cpt. Tom Illes, the battle group’s military police platoon leader. “My guys and I were able to meet so many fun and interesting people and learn more about the Polish culture.”