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German, Polish, US Forces Hold Live-Fire Exercise

US forces in Europe and NATO countries Germany and Poland conducted a live-fire exercise in Poland last week.

Being held as part of the DEFENDER-Europe 22 series of exercises at various locations in Europe, the drill was held near Drawsko Pomorskie, with simultaneous “wet gap crossings” in the Polish cities of Lomza, Dęblin, and Nowogród.

The exercise integrated “aerial and ground assets” including US Army and Polish Air Force aircraft, the US M1A2 Abrams tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, German Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle, and Polish BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

Flexibility, Interoperability

The goal of the training is to develop increased “flexibility and interoperability” in a combined response to deter threats in the region during heightened international tensions.

This preparation will better prepare a multinational force for any potential conflict while maintaining cohesion in the face of enemy engagement.

“At the end of the day, NATO is one giant friendly force that, if needed and called upon, is going to assemble through a lot of different nations providing critical combat capabilities to a multinational force,” Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Kurtzhals commented.

“It’s been absolutely rewarding working with our NATO Allies,” he added. “We realize that they’re a friendly force that’s going to work alongside us, shoulder-to-shoulder, and hopefully deter war.”

US Army major communicating during DEFENDER 2022 exercise in Poland
US Army Maj. Robert Churchill (center) communicates via radio with the commanding officer and command sergeant major of 1/68 during DEFENDER-Europe 22. Photo: Sgt. Tara Fajardo Arteaga/US Army

DEFENDER-Europe 22

Led by the US Army, DEFENDER-Europe 22 is a joint annual exercise “to build readiness and interoperability” among US, NATO, and partner forces. Participants include more than 8,500 troops and staff from 11 countries including the US, United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

Clearly articulating its “defensive” mission, the exercise seeks to build “operational readiness” and respond to any potential crises while demonstrating the US’ “iron-clad commitment to NATO.”

DEFENDER-Europe 22 exercises will be conducted across nine countries this year, including “Flaming Thunder” in Lithuania, “Slovak Shield” in Slovakia, and “Summer Shield” in Latvia.

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