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Oregon Army National Guard soldiers wrap up training in Romania


More than 250 Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, mobilized to Romania with the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team to participate in Exercise Saber Guardian 2016, a multinational military training exercise, from July 27 to August 7 .

Exercise Saber Guardian 16 officially ended with a closing ceremony Sunday at the Romanian Land Forces Training Center in Cincu, Romania.

Col. Robert Bertrand, the Saber Guardian exercise co-director and Brig. Gen. Nicolae Tonu, the deputy commander of the Romanian Land Forces 4th Infantry Division, both spoke at the ceremony to congratulate and thank all those who participated.

” Today , we finish an exercise that brought all of us closer together as nations and partners. This exercise gave us the opportunity to prove ourselves and to anyone else that we can work together as a team,” Tonu said.

Saber Guardian is an annual multinational exercise hosted alternately by Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. The exercise is part of U.S. European Command’s Joint Exercise Program designed to enhance joint combined interoperability with allied and partner nations.

Saber Guardian 16 involved more than 2,800 troops from five NATO countries (Bulgaria, Canada, Poland, Romania and the USA) and five Partnership for Peace states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) participated in the exercise.

Among those participating were 1,700 American Soldiers with M1A2 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, more than 900 Romanian Land Forces Soldiers, and almost 50 Canadian Soldiers with Infantry Armored Vehicles. Soldiers from the other countries participated in computer-assisted command and training exercises connected with the Training Centre in Novo Selo, Bulgaria and the Training and Peacekeeping Centre in Yavoriv, Ukraine.

Exercise Saber Guardian 16 was planned and commanded by the Romanian Land Forces Staff and NATO Integration Units. The exercise unfolded in four stages.

The command stage trained commanders and staff in the development of combined planning, standard operating procedures and staff battle drills in a force-on-force environment at the brigade level.

In stage two, the command post exercise (CPX) cross-trained Romanian officers with officers from Bulgaria, Ukraine and the U.S. to develop and improve communications and procedures. Soldiers worked with their Romanian counterparts in stage 3, the field training exercise (FTX), using a combination of mechanized and ground engagements. In the final stage, Soldiers conducted an array of live fire exercises with vehicles, aircrafts, and weapons systems from U.S. Army, Romanian and Canadian militaries.

“During these two weeks, all of us made a great effort, we understood each other, we manage all obstacles and issues and we end this exercise in outstanding conditions,” Tonu said.

The officers from both countries thanked the soldiers, officers, civilian employees and allies, as well as all citizens for their kindness and understanding for the exercises that occurred throughout the country.

“We stand in formation as countries, but today we stand as one,” Bertrand said in closing.

The majority of Oregon Soldiers who deployed for the exercise are traditional Guardsmen who drill one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. Many of them have families, are attending college, and work for civilian employers. The 3-116th Cavalry Battalion consists of Oregon Army National Guard units from Baker City, Hermiston, Hood River, La Grande, Ontario, Pendleton, The Dalles, and Woodburn, Oregon.

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