“We have just had the opportunity to admire Polish and US soldiers who raise their skills shoulder to shoulder, practicing here at the training ground in Drawsko Pomorskie, which is proof of very close Polish-US cooperation,” said Mariusz Błaszczak, Minister of National Defence during his visit to the military training area in Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland.
The head of the Ministry of National Defence greets US and Polish soldiers at the Drawsko training ground. In the background forest and sand. Soldiers in a row standing in front of the Minister of Defence.
On Thursday, at the Drawsko Land Forces Training Center, the head of the Ministry of National Defence inaugurated the Polish-US DEFENDER Europe 20 Plus exercise in which participates nearly 6,000 Polish and US soldiers and around 2,000 pieces of equipment: tanks, combat vehicles, artillery, missile sets and aviation are being used. Exercise will last until June 18 this year.
“Poland's security is reinforced because of the activity of President Andrzej Duda. The result of the two declarations he had signed is the formula of a permanent presence of US troops in Poland. The result of these declarations is the fact that in Poland operates advanced command post of the US division. General Sylvia is with us, the commander of the US division stationed in Poland. Poland is safer because Polish-US relations are stronger and because President Andrzej Duda has strengthened these relations,” emphasized Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
During the visit, Minister Mariusz Błaszczak watched a joint training – US - Polish division-size river crossing - the main tactical episode initially planned as part of the main exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 Allied Spirit XI linked exercise. River crossing with the participation of armored and airborne troops is exercised by soldiers. During the exercise, the ability of Polish and US soldiers to cooperate as part of a joint combat operation will be tested at the level of participating brigades.
“Of course, the epidemic had changed our plans, but the most important thing is that we were able to quickly adapt to changing circumstances. The Polish Armed Forces has not lost its combat readiness for a moment, and the presence of the United States troops in Poland at all times is proof of great confidence on the part of our US partner,” added the head of the Ministry of Defence.
The main training force from the Polish Armed Forces is the 12th Mechanized Brigade from Szczecin, as well as soldiers from the 6th Airborne Brigade from Krakow, 9th Braniewo Cavalry Brigade, as well as from the 2nd Engineering Regiment, 2nd Sapper Regiment and the 5th Engineering Regiment. The exercise will also take part in the aviation component represented by F-16 aircraft from the 2nd Tactical Aviation Wing and Mi-24 helicopters from the 1st Land Forces Aviation Brigade. 10 aircraft of the 3rd Transport Aviation Wing will also take part in the exercise.
“As part of our cooperation, we want to show that we are able to carry out this mission effectively, efficiently and successfully. At the same time, we want to show that we are able to exercise during a pandemic and create safe conditions for exercising. As part of this exercise, we want to prove not only that interoperability within different types of services is important, but also that such exercises can be performed much better if we look at it from the point of view of an international undertaking - said during the observation of DEFENDER Europe 20 Plus episodes BG Brett Sylvia, commander of the 1st US Cavalry Division.
On the US side, approximately 4,000 soldiers from the Advanced Command of the 1st Cavalry Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Group, 3rd Infantry Division and the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Army Training Command and 21st Command Theater Support and the Joint Multinational Readiness Center participate in the exercise.
DEFENDER-Europe 20 Plus is a modification of the initially planned exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 - the largest for 25 years, division size forces in full combat readiness deployment from the United States to Europe. It was planned to deploy 20,000 US soldiers. The main goal of DEFENDER-Europe 20 before and after modification is to increase preparedness for crisis situations by checking not only the ability of the US army to quickly move large numbers of US soldiers and equipment, but also checking the readiness of host countries to accept them.
At the time of the decision to modify this exercise and to stop moving equipment from the United States to Europe, more than ninety percent of the equipment intended for DEFENDER-Europe 20 arrived from the United States by air or sea to Europe. Taking advantage of the presence of already transferred troops and equipment that reached Poland - while maintaining all sanitary standards the modified Polish-US exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 Plus is carried out.
It is worth noting that the logistics, which is key for the exercise, have already been tested and developed. The exercise, which will last until June 19, also increase the security of the eastern flank and serve to develop procedures for the use of troops against new challenges of modern battlefield and deter the potential aggressor.