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‘Black’ division, ‘Dagger’ brigade meet interoperability goals at Borsuk

By Staff Sgt. Sharon Matthias | 22ND MOBILE PUBLIC AFFAIRS DETACHMENT | December 08, 2017

ZAGAN, Poland — Soldiers assigned to the 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, endured the frigid air as rain fell, causing their tracked vehicles to mix the uneven, loose soil into mud, as they prepared for Borsuk Nov. 28.

     Borsuk, a live-fire exercise at Presidenski Range near Trzebian, Poland, spanned nine days.

     The exercise included about 1,200 Polish and U.S. service members.

     The multinational team had a “call-to-fire,” which activated a combined effort to demonstrate interoperability and readiness with lethal force against a simulated enemy.

     Troops, under direct control of an integrated command team led by the Polish 11th Armored Cavalry Division, maneuvered M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2A2 Bradley fighting vehicles from defensive operations to an aggressive posture.

      They did this while being assisted by close air support and ground forces as they transitioned.

     “I maintain the speed and stay on line with the other fleet, so the gunner has a good shooting platform,” said Pfc. Alexander Bloemer, a cavalry scout with 2nd ABCT. “My main job is to keep the Bradley stable, so the gunner can strike with accuracy.”

      The muddy terrain tested Bloemer’s vehicle operation skill.

      “Out here, there are a lot of ditches; you must control speed by coasting through, so the vehicle won’t bounce around,” he said.

      Sgt. Jonathan Davis, a cavalry scout and Bradley gunner with 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Polish military, but also excited to showcase his ability.

     “I am very confident in my abilities to engage and destroy the target, plus we spent many days in the field preparing for this,” Davis said, emphasizing they rehearsed the tasks to the point of being quick and accurate every time.

     Capt. Brian Campbell, a fire support officer with 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., said more than 60 U.S. Soldiers participated in the exercise, which not only provided an opportunity to maintain and sustain readiness in a real-world environment, but also added training to develop leaders.

     Maj. Marcin Markowski, a Polish officer with the 11th Armored Calvary Division, said while this is not the first time the Polish Army has worked with the Americans, this was his first time working with 2nd ABCT. He added he was glad for the opportunity to share his team’s best practices and take lessons from the Americans.

     The units worked together to dominate their sectors of fire on the range, which focused on strengthening capabilities and sustaining readiness through the bilateral and multinational training exercise, Markowski said.

     It took a team of tracked vehicle mechanics and crew chiefs to ensure the safety of the Soldiers and operability of the equipment to sustain the training, Bloemer said.

     “Before we move, we must conduct preventative maintenance checks and services,” Bloemer said. “We’ll check tracks and fluids while the gunner conducts PMCS on the turret.”

     Campbell said his unit met its objective during the exercise.

     “The troops participated fully,” Campbell said. “It was good training, as we worked on building our combat proficiency and being able to work directly on our interoperability,”