MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania --- Field artillery is often praised as the "King of Battle," and soldiers from Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment welcomed their royalty during railhead operations at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on April 7, 2017.
Taking center stage at the unloading was the artillery and munitions carriers the battery had been anxiously awaiting, specifically a mix of M109A6 Paladin Self Propelled Howitzers and M99A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles. The train also delivered other military vehicles like the Palletized Load System Vehicle and the Humvee.
The vehicles are earmarked for the combined U.S. and Romanian forces as they train side by side during Operation Atlantic Resolve, a NATO mission between the U.S. and its European Allies and partners that promotes regional stability and deters aggression throughout Europe. This training will provide both countries with the unique experience of learning how to become a cohesive fighting force as they both share and operate many similar models of equipment.
The Soldiers of 3-29 FA gathered around the rail platform eager to undertake the task of moving the large vehicles. They carried out their tasks with a steady focus. Sgt. 1st Class Adam Bruce of 3-29 FA summarized the feelings of his soldiers in attendance.
"The Soldiers are extremely excited. They're ready to train with our Romanian counterparts and fire some artillery," he said.
The downloading of vehicles was hardly a new experience for the Soldiers and they were able to carry it out with relative speed and ease. Bruce spoke on the team's familiarity with the task and how that contributed to the day's success.
"We've done this numerous times in the past, whether it be NTC [National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.] rotations or moving from one country to another, and it's become a normal thing for us being able to get our equipment off in a timely manner," he said.
The transport of the vehicles also served as a unique learning opportunity for the battery. With the artillery being moved through different countries, delivery was no simple task. Capt. John Burke, battery commander of 3-29 FA explained further.
"After we did our training in Poland we loaded the trains again and made our trek out to Romania. It was quite an interesting process. We had to create a lot of partnerships, as well as get the train through several different countries while making sure we were meeting the requirements of each country we passed through. It was quite a laborious process," he said.
The artillery unit will soon begin combined training alongside U.S. and Romanian infantry. This mostly will be providing support for ground troops during live fire exercises. Burke spoke on how these exercises will aid in the teamwork between both countries.
"This allows us to work alongside our host nation's army. We can learn from them, they can learn from us, and we work together to enhance our combined capabilities," he said.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51st country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnership and enhance global security.