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    U.S., Romanian Forces Prove Ready Along Black Sea

    U.S., Romanian Forces Prove Ready Along Black Sea

    Photo By Sgt. Ryan Barnes | MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania -- Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. H. Marcus McGill 

    41st Field Artillery Brigade

    Members of 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade (41st FAB) deployed two M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) with 2 launcher crews, comprised of six personnel, from Ramstein Air Base, Germany to conduct Exercise Rapid Falcon Nov. 19. This was the unit's second live fire event since reactivation just 90 days ago and was the first time U.S. Forces fired HIMARS from land into the Black Sea in cooperation with Romanian allies.

    The joint, multinational live-fire exercise included the Romania-based element of 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, U.S. 352nd Special Operations Wing, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, and Romanian Land Forces from the 8th LAROM Brigade and the 9th Infantry Brigade.

    “The lethality proven today with the distances the exercise used on the Black Sea speaks for itself,” said Maj. General Lulian Berdila, Chief of Land Forces, Romania.
    The range on the rocket systems is 300 KM and Romania is in the process of acquiring systems of their own from the U.S. They expect those weapons to be in place, and fully operational by 2022. 

    “Today we performed a HIRAIN, which is a HIMARS Rapid Infiltration,” said Capt. Justin Bland, Alpha Battery Commander, 1-77 FAR. “This allows us to load up into a C-17, C-130, or a C-5 and go anywhere in the world and provide these timely fires.”

    As part of the exercise, the HIMARS systems and their crews started the day in Germany, deployed to Romania, fired and were back on the plane to return to Germany just in the same day. The troops and their leaders prepared tirelessly and conducted hours of training in order to complete the mission.

    “Readiness is our number one priority, so coming out here and conducting a joint operation enables us to make sure that we are in sync with our NATO counterparts,” said Sgt. Maj. Samuel H. Zoker, Command Sgt. Maj., 41st FAB. 

    This display of interoperability combines the U.S. HIMARS systems with Romanian Multiple Launch Rocket Systems to demonstrate NATO's capability to quickly and effectively provide strategic deterrence options, deter theater adversaries, and shape the operational environment. By conducting such exercises, U.S. Army Europe is able to hone its readiness while demonstrating its full commitment to partner nations and regional security.

    “This is fundamental evidence of how the U.S.- Romania military partnership has developed over time. Such activities prove that we can combine capabilities and provide integrated training. The Soldiers that fired today are just a continuation of this partnership. This is just part of what is about to come in the future,” said Gen. Berdila.

    The event required months of planning between U.S. and Romanian Forces. Under the best of conditions all of the details of such a complex mission would require a great deal of attention to detail. Due to the current global pandemic, the planning and execution was even more difficult. 

    “There is nothing different for this, we were able to do our diligent handwashing, mask wearing, and social distancing when available. It’s the same practices that we do at home and the same practices we do out here on deployment. That was on both sides, with the Romanians and the Americans, it was safe all the way around,” said Bland.
    In spite of all of the safety measures required, there was still a mission to accomplish. Leadership praised the ability of troops on both sides to overcome and adapt while still conducting such vital training.

    “It says a lot about the team, it was a joint effort across the board. There were mitigation efforts put into place to prevent the spread of the disease. No matter what happens, no matter if it's COVID, whatever the case may be, training still has to go on,” said Zoker. “We can deploy anywhere at any time.”

    Gen. Berdila echoed Zoker's sentiments regarding the importance of protecting the health of the troops while ensuring the continuation of the mission.

    “American and Romanian Soldiers proved today they can come together, fight COVID at the same time, but still address the need for deterrence and defense in the Black Sea region. We can cope with COVID, but it will never minimize our main task and our main mission to stay together, train together, and when needed, fight together,” said Berdila.




    Date Taken: 11.19.2020
    Date Posted: 11.20.2020 09:59
    Story ID: 383441

    Web Views: 1,170
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