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    Alabama participates in multinational interoperability exercise

    Defender-Europe 21

    Photo By Sandra Lucas | Defender-Europe 21 and linked exercises demonstrate and develop the extensive military...... read more read more



    Story by 1st Sgt. Sandra Lucas 

    131st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Alabama Army Guardsmen are participating in the largest exercise since COVID-19 shut down most training and travel. Exercise Defender-Europe 21 began with 26 nations, including the U.S., and around 28,000 multinational forces all focused on building operational readiness and interoperability between NATO allies and partners.

    The strategic movement will include 20,000 Active, Guard and Reserve to places throughout Europe. Defender-Europe 21 will encompass several linked exercises, to include:

    • Swift Response (early to mid-May) – will include airborne operations in Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania involving more than 7,000 troops from 11 countries.

    • Immediate Response (mid-May through early-June) – more than 5,000 troops from eight countries will spread out across 31 training areas in 12 different countries to conduct live fire training. A Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore operation will also occur.

    • Saber Guardian (mid-May through early-June) – more than 13,000 service members from 19 countries will conduct live fire and air and missile defense operations, plus a large scale medical evacuation.

    • Command Post Exercise (June) – approximately 2,000 personnel will exercise the headquarters’ ability to command multinational land forces in a joint and combined training environment while maintaining real-world operations across 104 countries on two continents.

    Defender 21 will also be associated with two key training events occurring May through June, African Lion and Steadfast Defender.

    “Our Guardsmen are all too familiar with immediate response and the past 18 months or so have honed our skills,” said Major Jacqueline Krimmel, director of Alabama National Guard public affairs.

    Supporting Immediate Response from Alabama are the 1-131st Assault Helicopter Battalion, the 167th Infantry and the 131st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. Approximately 2,100 National Guard Soldiers from five states are participating (Alabama, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia).

    Last year’s exercise was planned to be the largest NATO exercise in Europe in 25 years but it had to be cut back due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Perhaps more planning and training has gone into this annual training period than any other, to include the strict COVID prevention and mitigation measures, said Command Sgt. Major Terry White, 167th Infantry Battalion.

    “It has been difficult not doing it in person, in country, there was no ADVON, and we did these functions using video and conference calls.”

    Although planning and training presents a challenge during a pandemic, the mission must continue.

    “While we are closely monitoring the COVID situation, we've proven we have the capability to train safely despite the pandemic. No matter what, our nations count on our forces being ready to defend the peace,” said Gen. Christopher Cavoli, U.S. Army Europe and Africa commanding general.

    Units will undergo quarantine on both the front and backend of the training as well as COVID-19 testing.

    “Always, the safety of our Soldiers comes first,” said Michael Wilson, Chief Warrant 3, Company A, 1st Battalion 131st Assault Helicopter Battalion.

    Defender-Europe 21 and linked exercises demonstrate and develop the extensive military capabilities that NATO allies need to prevent conflict, preserve peace and keep our nations safe. This is normal activity in the context of defense and is an important element of deterrence.

    To learn more and see the latest on Defender-Europe 21 follow #DefenderEurope on social media, and subscribe for immediate updates at



    Date Taken: 05.19.2021
    Date Posted: 05.19.2021 11:08
    Story ID: 396830
    Location: MONTGOMERY, AL, US 

    Web Views: 159
    Downloads: 0