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    1st Infantry Division and 7th Army Training Command participate in ASDA exhibition

    1st Infantry Division and 7th Army Training Command participate in ASDA exhibition

    Photo By 1st Lt. Caroline Pirchner | Members of 1st Infantry Division (1ID) and 7th Army Training Command (7ATC)...... read more read more

    SPLIT, Croatia — Members of the 1st Infantry Division and 7th Army Training Command (7ATC) participated in the 2021 Adriatic Sea Defense and Aerospace (ASDA) exhibition in Split, Croatia.

    ASDA is a high-profile international exhibition where leading international companies will present land, sea, air and national security defense systems to a highly specialized audience from the Croatian and international community. More than 185 exhibitors from the defense industry participated from more than 26 countries.

    The 1st Infantry Division and 7ATC represented the U.S. Army at the event, showcasing a Stryker armored vehicle, an M2A3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Bradley), and a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

    Soldiers were responsible for communicating the capabilities of their equipment to various delegations from Croatia and many other countries. Doing so helps promote U.S. equipment and technology to encourage Foreign Military Sales, while supporting U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s strategy of enhancing interoperability.

    The crews had a variety of tactical and strategic engagements. For example, the Black Hawk team taught members of the Croatian armed forces, who are currently in training to become pilots, about how they operate as a flight crew in their aircraft. In contrast, the Stryker crew engaged with a joint defense delegation from North Macedonia. In March 2021, the U.S. State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of Strykers to the North Macedonia government. The crew showed the delegation their Stryker and explained its various functions and capabilities. Engagements like these reinforce confidence in major defense purchases and decisions.

    “We want to show that we have the confidence and show that we’ve used this platform multiple times, and that it has worked for us,” Spc. Gregory Carranza, an infantryman assigned to 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 7ATC, said. “Showing that, it would also give people who are walking by and asking these questions, the reassurance that this is something I [they] could invest in.”

    Being the subject matter experts, it was important for the soldiers to bring not only their knowledge, but to also internalize the passion they have for their jobs during these various engagements.

    Sgt. Victoria Bridgen, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer assigned to 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, interned with BAE Systems, the manufacturer of the Bradley, in high school. This led to her decision to work with Bradleys when she joined the U.S. Army.

    “I got to see Brads [Bradleys] being built and designed, and I kind of fell in love with them,” Bridgen said.

    She said the power behind the Bradley is what impresses her the most. This was an important aspect for her to communicate to trade show visitors.

    “We can shoot, move and communicate all at once, instead of having to stop somewhere, turn everything and focus on one target, we can do it all at once,” Bridgen said.

    Sgt. Dmytro Aleksandrenko, a UH-60 Black Hawk crew chief assigned to 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, shared a similar passion when it came to communicating his aircraft’s capabilities at the show.

    “I love to work with very complicated machines, like [the] Black Hawk,” Aleksandrenko said.

    This is Aleksandrenko’s first time back in Europe as a U.S. citizen after permanently moving to the U.S. from Ukraine in 2017. He said that he is excited to be back in Europe and thankful for the opportunities the U.S. Army has given him to travel and work with other countries’ militaries. He, along with other members of 1st Infantry Division, has been supporting Atlantic Resolve, an effort where rotational units conduct bilateral, joint and multinational training events across more than a dozen countries. Atlantic Resolve is funded by the European Deterrence Initiative, which enables the U.S. to enhance deterrence, increase readiness and support NATO.

    “We need to show people from around the world what vehicles we work in,” Aleksandrenko said, “to promote our own industry.”

    Heidi Grant, the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), also attended the trade show. When giving statements to the local media, she talked about the importance of defense cooperation between the U.S. and Croatia, and how the two countries are constantly working together to strengthen their mutual defense.

    Grant gave coins to the 1st Infantry Division and 7ATC soldiers to thank them for strategically assisting with DSCA’s goals.

    She was also joined by Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, the director of the Army National Guard, and other National Guard leadership whose states participate in the state partnership program (SPP) with Balkan countries. The leadership asked the participating soldiers about their military experiences in Europe and, in addition, thanked them for representing the U.S. Army at the event.

    These distinguished guests, along with many other international leaders, went on to view an extravagant land, sea and air demonstration led by the Croatian armed forces. The demonstration featured the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters that the U.S. provided to Croatia in 2016. The transfer of the Kiowa Warriors is just one example of how the U.S. provides military assistance to Croatia. The U.S. also provides support in the form of training, equipment loans, and education in U.S. military schools.

    The 1st Infantry Division and 7ATC’s involvement in the trade show is a testament to the U.S. Department of Defense’s robust military-to-military relationship with Croatia. This relationship and involvement in the trade show provides an invaluable security cooperation forum for the U.S. Army and defense industry to engage with allies and partners, strengthen partnerships, and demonstrate world-leading capabilities.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.30.2021
    Date Posted: 10.04.2021 11:20
    Story ID: 406626
    Location: SPLIT, HR 

    Web Views: 729
    Downloads: 2

    PUBLIC DOMAIN