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    US Army Strykers cross borders as show of force in Europe

    US Army Strykers cross borders as show of force in Europe

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Amy Elker | U.S. Soldiers in a military convoy with 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, cross the...... read more read more

    RUSE, Bulgaria (July 18, 2017) – A traffic delay tends to bring out the worst in drivers: glares, rude gestures and other sordid activities. However, when traffic was temporarily closed off at a bridge that spans a river over the borders of Romania and Bulgaria to allow a convoy of U.S. Army Strykers to pass through without delay, the line of waiting passengers greeted the traveling Soldiers, instead, with smiles, waves and a short honk of the horn as a means of welcome.

    U.S. Army Europe’s (USAREUR) 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2CR), also known as the 2nd Dragoons, departed on a tactical vehicle road march from their home station in Vilseck, Germany, on June 30 at midnight, traveling through Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and arriving in Giurgiu, Romania, July 18 to cross the Danube River. The river is traversed by the Danube Bridge – formerly known as the Friendship Bridge – and connects Giurgiu to Ruse, Bulgaria. From Ruse, 2CR was headed to the Black Sea and on to their final stop in Georgia.

    Spanning six countries and thousands of miles, the road march demonstrates a show of force against regional aggression. The road march was part of Dragoon Guardian 17, which is linked to Saber Guardian 17 (SG17), the largest of 18 USAREUR exercises taking place during the month of July in the Black Sea Region. The exercises involve approximately 25,000 personnel from 22 allied and partner nations. While each exercise is separate and distinct, as a whole, these exercises demonstrate the U.S., their NATO allies and partner nations’ superior combined military capabilities.

    1st Lt. Matthew Chapman, convoy leader, Archer Battery, Field Artillery Squadron, 2CR, was in charge of approximately 20 vehicle’s individual movements throughout the region. He said the multiple country crossing was significant not only because it was the first time in recent history that Strykers have crossed from Romania into Bulgaria, but also in demonstrating their freedom of maneuver throughout all of Europe.

    “The ability to drive anywhere, unimpeded, across borders, shows how effectively we can work with our NATO partners and allies and get from point A to point B,” Chapman said. “It is a chance for people who live in these countries to see America is committing to enhancing the NATO partnership and defending it.”

    Col. Patrick J. Ellis, commander, 2CR, said that although the tendency is to believe that in the event of conflict all border crossing restrictions would be removed, he is not sure if that would actually be the case, so it is important to understand the procedures at each location. They exercise this by sending advance teams ahead, so that when the convoys arrive at the border, the crossing is as smooth as possible.

    “As we provide information back to our higher headquarters,” he said, “it will be something we can use as we move toward the future, to figure out how to better streamline those procedures and how to make sure we’re able to get to where we need to in order to conduct our mission as given to us by the alliance as fast as possible.”

    Chapman said there were many other planning issues they needed to consider, including logistical aspects – fuel, water, ammo – diplomatic coordination for border crossings, and the “amazing” amount of personnel who were involved in the exercise.

    Despite all the care in planning, with a trek of that magnitude, there is bound to be an issue with a vehicle or two along the way. However, Chapman said their mechanics and maintenance worked “day and night” to repair any broken parts.

    “Ultimately, we have gotten here (Ruse) without any significant issues and nothing to detract from the accomplishment of our mission,” he said.

    Chapman said this type of training is important and believes repetition is key to mission success.

    “With every training, the more you do it, the more natural it becomes,” he said. “The more we exercise our abilities to cross borders, the more accustomed host nations will be to having us cross.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.18.2017
    Date Posted: 07.21.2017 08:42
    Story ID: 242019
    Location: BG

    Web Views: 399
    Downloads: 1
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