CAMP KONOTOP, Poland (June 1, 2015) — Soldiers, from the U.S., Polish, and French armies, completed a multi-battalion-sized training exercise at Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Poland, May 29. Although between NATO allies, Exercise Puma 15 marks the first time the partners have conducted with battalions from each respective nation.
The annual Polish-led exercise simulated an operation, where armored assets from the partner nations secure the battlefield by advancing, engaging and securing their assigned objectives.
Polish Army Col. Piotr Bieniek, deputy commander of Poland’s 15th Mechanized Brigade, said the exercise was designed to test the abilities and skills of the partner nations in working together.
“We’ve been working from the squad all the way down to the platoon level in preparation for this,” Bieniek said. “This is designed to show our capabilities and skills to work together as a team.”
Emphasizing the teamwork required for the event, French Army Lt. Col. Henri le Losq, commander of the 12th Cuirassiers Regiment, said it was a great opportunity for him and his unit to work with the other nations.
“It was a good opportunity for us to discover and develop tactics and fire,” le Losq said.
le Losq said the exercise was about more than just firing tanks – there was also cross training going on with the medical teams.
U.S. Army Maj. John Womack, executive officer of 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, said his unit has been training in Drawsko Pomorskie for several months, but participating in Exercise Puma 15 has been unique for his unit.
“I think what makes this exciting for us is … doing this kind of training at the battalion level with Polish, French, and American Soldiers working together to make a battalion certification exercise a success as allies,” Womack said.
The U.S. units are part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between NATO allies, whose mission is the continued peace and stability of Europe.
“We’re here because of the NATO alliance,” Womack said. “The NATO alliance is the strongest alliance in the world, and we’ve proven that.”
The final stage of the exercise was conducted with an attack scenario, where an attacking unit passes forward through a friendly line of defense and attacks to seize an objective.
The live-fire exercise saw Polish attack helicopters synchronized with U.S. and Polish mortar fire, all while Polish, French and U.S. tank crews engaged and defeated the enemy.
After the exercise, Soldiers, of the U.S., Polish, and French armies, participated in a closing ceremony, where individual Soldiers from the participating countries received awards for their work during Puma 15.
Multinational exercises are set to continue in NATO countries across Europe throughout the coming months.