Saber Guardian: US Tanks Roll into Romania
US 66th Armor Brigade Arrives in Romania for Getica Saber
CINCU, Romania – A loud rumble can be heard not too far away, the ground shaking. As the noise grows louder, people in the nearby Romanian villages look out their windows and show their excitement as U.S. tanks roll by.
The people run outside waving and cheering. Some even take out cellular phones to take photos as Soldiers from 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (“Iron Brigade”), 4th Infantry Division, pass.
The Iron Brigade Soldiers are on their way to the Cincu Joint National Training Center after offloading their equipment from rail cars in Voila and Fagaras. In Cincu, they will take part in Getica Saber 17, part of the U.S. Army Europe-led series of Black Sea region exercises falling under the Saber Guardian 17 moniker.
“We have had multiple movements so far during our Operation Atlantic Resolve mission,” said 1st Lt. Larry Tran, a tank platoon leader in Ares Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div. “We have a lot of experience with rail operations and this is my unit’s last major movement to a mission (Saber Guardian) before re-deploying in the fall.”
The Soldiers of 1-66 AR have created standard operating procedures on how to load armored vehicles onto trains.
“We’ve been doing this since our rotation to the National Training Center last August. We did this when we first arrived in Europe and moved equipment from a German port to Poland, then from Poland to Germany for our train-up to multinational exercise Combined Resolve VIII,” said Tran.
“We have support from other companies as well, which makes it so much easier,” he said.
Arriving in a remote training area in Romania brought challenges unique to this environment, where railheads are located at least 12 kilometers away from where Getica Saber will be held.
“In these small towns, the roads aren’t as developed and are smaller than other places in Europe,” said Tran. “Because they were smaller, we had to make tight turns and avoid bridges we weren’t able to cross because they weren’t structured for something as heavy as a tank. We had to find a lot of bypasses, but we still were able to get the tanks to Cincu.”
Besides the 3rd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div., Getica Saber will feature the Romanian 282nd Mechanized Brigade, the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division Artillery and service members from Croatia, Ukraine, Portugal, Montenegro and Armenia.
Some of the ABCT vehicles that are going to be used during Getica Saber include M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M109A6 Paladin self-propelled artillery.
“The Paladins from 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment have an important role during the exercise,” said Lt. Col. George Mitroka, the commander for 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div. “There’s a fire-support coordination exercise that’s going to occur for three days. We have also incorporated a combined-arms exhibition for distinguished visitors that will happen July 15 as a credible demonstration of the NATO alliance’s strength.”
Getica Saber and the other Saber Guardian 17 exercises – which have brought two other Iron Brigade combined-arms battalions to Bulgaria and Hungary – further demonstrate an armored brigade’s ability to mass, maneuver, and sustain forces in eastern Europe.
“This is the third massing of the Iron Brigade to demonstrate our ability to move a heavy force freely around Europe, said Mitroka. “These exercises demonstrate our commitment to strengthening relationships with our strategic allies and partners by building partner capability, capacity and interoperability.”
Approximately 25,000 service members from 23 countries will participate in these exercises in the Black Sea Region aimed at highlighting participants’ deterrent capabilities.
Source: US Army (USAREUR)