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    Arrow ‘19: 2CR strengthens strategic forces

    Arrow ‘19: 2CR strengthens strategic forces

    Photo By Sgt. LaShic Patterson | U.S. Army Soldiers from the Outlaw Troop, 4th Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment come...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. LaShic Patterson 

    2d Cavalry Regiment

    VILSECK, Germany – Earlier this month, approximately 200 U.S. Army Soldiers from the Outlaw Troop, 4th Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment participated in Arrow ‘19, an annual Finnish multinational exercise, at the Pojankangas Training Area near Kankaanpaa, Finland.

    2CR Soldiers stood alongside the ranks of the U.S. Marine Corps from the 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and the 4th Marine Logistic Group based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the Finnish Army, the British Army and the Estonian Defence Forces to conduct their platoon, troop and battalion-sized mechanized infantry, artillery and mortar field situational training exercise and live fire exercise.

    Such training increases interoperability between U.S. military service branches and partnering nations, reinforces collective defense and security and builds readiness through strong, strategic forces according to the mission objectives of the U.S. European Command.

    “We’re here supporting the Finnish defense forces annual exercise, which consists of a force on force portion where Outlaw Troop was attached to a Finnish Battalion as they conducted STX maneuvers against another Finnish battalion,” said Capt. Jimmyn Lee, commander, Outlaw Troop, 4/2CR.

    According to Lee, the STX and LFX trainings were conducted on the Finnish Merchantry Company range, which allowed for U.S. Army Soldiers to observe their Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty-2 vehicles and train under mission essential taskings with weapon systems such as the 30mm cannons on the Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle – Dragoon and the AT-4s, the 84mm anti-tank weapon.

    “Operating under a Finnish Battalion Command has been the biggest learning point for us because obviously they operate under different TTP’s [tactics, techniques and procedures] and different SOP’s [standard operating procedures] than we’re accustomed to,” explained Lee. “Before the fight even begins, it’s important to touch base with their leadership and ensure that they understand how we fight [and] how they best could employ us if we are attached to them.”

    According to Staff Sgt. Zachary Brunnemer, senior cavalry scout, Outlaw Troop, 4/2CR, the exercise allows for fluidity between the platoon across all participating echelons.

    “The biggest thing is understanding the capabilities of your other counterparts and allies, seeing the strengths that they have,” said Brunnemer. “In terms of reconnaissance assets, they operate completely differently than we do. Understanding how they can complement ourselves [is necessary] so that as a whole team are able to accomplish the mission as successfully as possible.”

    While not a part of NATO, Finland shares goals with the U.S. to build their bilateral relationship and to address transatlantic threats, which is vital not only to the security of Europe but also to the U.S.

    “When our Soldiers are being asked to move into the AO [area of operation] in order to support a Finnish unit, it’s important for them to understand how the Finnish fight so that they could best maneuver themselves to get to the right place at the right time in order to have effects on the shared enemy,” said Lee, who has been the commander of Outlaw Troop for nine months.

    Every year, Soldiers from 2CR represent the U.S. Army Europe by participating in Arrow; Brunnemer, who has been stationed in Germany for two years, received insight from the previous 2CR participants of last year’s exercise.

    “Some of the things with a sense of the training area, we expected kind of just the look of how Germany would regularly look,” said Brunnemer describing his troop’s expectations of the terrain in Finland before discovering its shrub-steppe, low rainfall grassland and almost arid like surroundings.

    “We hit the training area out here, and it’s very different actually. On the sides, it looks like the wooden areas you would see in Germany, but in the middle, it’s more of a Yakima or NTC [Fort Irwin National Training Center] type of look, which is not what we expected. Coming in, getting that information before we got here helped us plan a little better.”

    Because of Finland’s position near the Arctic Polar Circle, the country receives over 21 hours of daylight during its summer months.

    “It affects the mission in the sense of our strength is operating at night time,” said Brunnemer. “It definitely, in a force on force fight, makes more of an even kill for the enemy side in that aspect.”

    However, Soldiers of Outlaw Troop would overcome that obstacle and adapt to successfully complete STX. Consisting of movement to contact and attack with defensive tasks under the direction of the Finnish Battalion Battle Group Commander, 2CR worked in conjunction with two U.S. Marine Corps tank platoons.

    “The first day, we were on the same side for the force on force [training],” said Lee on the U.S. Marine’s role during STX. “Then, the next two days of the force on force, they were attached to the opposing Finnish Battalion.”

    Lee continued, “They’ve been a very interesting enemy to fight for us because they’re in their LAV-25s [Light Armored Vehicles], kind of an analogous to our ICV-D’s [Infantry Carrier Vehicle -Dragoons], and they had a platoon of Abrams. They proved to be a challenging enemy to have to plan against and maneuver against, but I’d say our guys did very well against them.”

    The U.S. Army versus U.S. Marine Corps competition was all in fun, friendly comradery between the two military service branches.

    “It’s a lot of fun,” said Brunnemer. “I get into little jabs here and there whenever we get a kill on one of their vehicles, or they get us.”

    While Outlaw Troop focused heavily on their dismounted scout teams and their employment, it was the juxtaposition of focus that would bring success carrying over into their platoon, troop and Finnish Battalion Battlegroup Live Fire Exercises.

    “One of the biggest things that the platoons have been learning since the force on force and their own live fires is their mounted maneuver assets,” said Lee.

    “However, with the terrain here and the fact that we are working alongside a mechanized force that can move very quickly and very forcefully across all kinds of terrain, that’s required us to step our game up when it comes to our mounted assets and bring our 30mm Dragoons into the fight. So, the platoons have been improving daily in that regard.”

    As a new method to track their successes and opportunities for improvement, Soldiers wore Deployable Instrumentation System, Europe vests and halos with transmitters on their M4 rifles and kits on their vehicles. DISE also provided playback much like a videogame with fast-forwarding and rewinding capabilities, essential to an exercise’s after-action review, such as Arrow ‘19.

    “With MILES, you get the adjudication of kills and just the basic level of force on force support. However, with DISE, the AAR capability was the biggest gain from using DISE,” said Lee.

    Different from the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, DISE is able to track each Soldier via GPS cueing them of the direction of enemy fires, virtual capacitating and non-capacitating injuries and other statuses. Scenarios with injuries allowed for 2CR Soldiers to conduct combat life saver measures to reset their vests and to add more time to their virtual lives.

    “The DISE gear worked well here; it was linked with the Finnish as well as the other multinational elements out here,” said Lee. “It greatly instrumentalized the AAR’s after where the leaders could observe on a screen where all of their elements had maneuvers, mounted and dismounted and be able to analyze what went well, how they could’ve improved and figure out how to do better next time.”

    After completing LFX screens and zone reconnaissance including both dry and live round iterations, the Finnish Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Petri Hulkko, presented coins, plaques and knives as tokens of their appreciation to the participating military service branches.

    “Without an exercise like this, nobody would be able to visualize how this would actually go,” said Lee. “So, this exercise has brought concepts and theories into reality.”



    Date Taken: 05.28.2019
    Date Posted: 05.28.2019 15:38
    Story ID: 324096
    Location: VILSECK, BY, DE 

    Web Views: 574
    Downloads: 2