SMARDAN TRAINING AREA, Romania – U.S. soldiers assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, alongside Allies of the NATO and security partners participated in Exercise Justice Eagle 22, from 16 to 22 September.
Justice Eagle is an annual multinational training event, held in Romania, and focuses on increasing the confidence, readiness and interoperability of participating NATO allies. Each country is responsible for executing company-level training exercises with the aim of creating cohesion and integration in the Romanian Defense Forces.
“We want to incorporate other countries into our training and use each other’s cultures and experiences to share and create a cohesive unit,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Maggie Ramsey, Alpha Company platoon leader. “We really had to understand that we are all different but also very similar at the same time.”
Countries worked closely together throughout the exercise
The United States worked alongside French soldiers, who are part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup in Romania, Polish and Portuguese military contingents and the Romanian 20th Infantry Battalion.
“Our company took in a Polish platoon and one of ours was sent to the Portuguese,” said the US Army sergeant. 1st Class Alex Juarez, a platoon sergeant assigned to the participating armored unit.
The United States and NATO allies conducted a ROC exercise at Justice Eagle
Each country had its own method of preparation and training schedule before the exercise. The United States took the previous month to train and certify each of its soldiers participating in the exercise to ensure troops could dive straight into the integrated portion of the training.
“We had to complete some certifications such as squad live fire, platoon live fire and artillery,” Ramsey said. “We had to bring our unit up to standard and be ready to go.”
Familiarization with different equipment and weapon systems
Once in the field, the integration of the troops began with familiarization with the different equipment and weapon systems that each country planned to use. Each country showcased their standard weapon systems, combat vehicles, and squad formations and movements.
Various media had a chance to learn more with a multinational static display and rehearsal of the culminating event. Subject matter experts from each country presented and answered questions about the vehicles and weapon systems on display. The United States presented an M2 Bradley combat vehicle, as well as the M4 carbine and the M249 Squad automatic weapon. The event ended with a fly-by of Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets.
Concluding the week-long exercise, the combined arms live-fire exercise demonstrated the capabilities of partner nations to conduct comprehensive unilateral and integrated notional missions in a simulated combat environment.
“We started with the Bradley Firing Table and moved on to dismounted capabilities and maneuver training,” Juarez explained. “The objective of live fire was to force multiplication of our interoperability with our allied partners.”
The CALFEX showcased multinational capabilities through joint maneuvers, dismounts and tactical procedures. By achieving the goals, each country reported having improved trust, communication and interoperability between itself and its partner counterparts.
Training exercises, such as Justice Eagle, remain an important element in ensuring the interoperability of NATO Allies and partners.
“I think exercises like Justice Eagle build cohesion not just in Europe, but around the world,” Ramsey said. “It sets a solid foundation with each other and shows the rest of the world that we can work well together.”