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    Learning and growing together, one level at a time

    Learning and growing together, one level at a time

    Photo By Spc. Jacqueline Dowland | Soldiers with 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, dismounted their military vehicles...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Jacqueline Dowland 

    4th Public Affairs Detachment

    NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria- The American and Bulgarian soldiers dismounted from their respective military vehicles, filing separately then forming one united force before entering the crumbling, dilapidated three-story building. While the soldiers did not know what challenges awaited them inside the building as they rounded each corner, they knew that they could competently face any foe encountered together.

    Soldiers with 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, joined Bulgarian Army special forces soldiers as they conducted a cordon and search joint training exercise during Kabile 15, a multilateral joint training exercise, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, June 17.

    "We conducted outer and inner cordon methods, then moved in with the Bulgarian special forces team to assault the actual objective, where there were two high-value targets in the building," said 1st Lt. Paul T. Merten, a platoon leader for 2nd Platoon, Eagle Troop, 2/2 CR and a native of Corvallis, Ore. "We divided up the different levels of the building, then went in and captured the targets and brought them out, working as a united team to get the mission accomplished successfully."

    During the planning and execution phases of the exercise, the NATO allies learned to work together as a united front to tackle the mission, despite differences.

    "We've gained a fresh understanding of their capabilities and effort that they put into what they can bring to the fight," said Merten.

    The counterparts learned that not only could they overcome challenges together, they also learned that they shared many similarities, making working side-by-side easier than one may think considering they hail from nations a world away.

    " It's been interesting because they have a lot of the same standard operating procedures as we do so it's been easier than I thought it would be," said Sgt. Christopher Waggoner, a squad leader for 2nd Platoon, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, and a native of Magnolia, Ky.

    The exercise allowed the soldiers to utilize ingenuity to overcome challenges, such as language barriers amongst the counterparts so they could communicate effectively.

    "Even though there's a language barrier, we were able to communicate through hand and arm signals," said Waggoner. "At times, just simply pointing to a room or level of the building communicated so much, even if we couldn't find the words to say."

    The soldiers from each side were able to walk away from the training exercise with lasting positives gained from the experience, creating a strong bond with new allies from thousands of miles from home.

    "We are confident that we are able to rely on our NATO allies, and know what we can do together to combat any potential threats," said Merten. " It's been a unique experience to get to know the Bulgarian people on a personal level, and to make lasting friendships is the best part of the entire mission."



    Date Taken: 06.17.2015
    Date Posted: 06.18.2015 08:30
    Story ID: 167093
    Location: NOVO SELO, BG 
    Hometown: CORVALLIS, OR, US
    Hometown: MAGNOLIA, KY, US

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