The exercise was a US Joint Multinational Readiness Centre validation exercise for 2nd (US) Cavalry Regiment (2 CR) and the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade (1CAB), of 1st (US) Infantry Division, to validate and certify them for high readiness tasks across the European and African theatres. This year, the exercise was led by a 50-strong team from Bulford based HQ 3 (UK) Division, the first time a non-US Division has been put in charge of validating US brigades.
Asked about the importance of this exercise, US Brigadier General Gene Meredith, Deputy Commander 3 (UK) Division said: “It gives us the opportunity to work together and learn from each other, smooth out differences in procedure and policies in the way we execute operations. We’re stronger together and by having this exercise, it demonstrates that to any would-be adversaries that they won’t be facing just one nation, they’ll face all of us in NATO.”
HQ 3 (UK) Division involvement in Exercise Saber Junction 21 resulted from experience gained in Warfighter, the premier division-level event conducted by the US Army.
“That exercise was a great learning opportunity, the Super Bowl of division-level operations, and, although this exercise is nowhere near as big as Warfighter, it enables us to execute divisional-level operations and that’s what we’re really getting after here with 3 (UK) Div”, said Brig Gen Meredith.
Soldiers from Edinburgh-based 3 RIFLES were embedded with 2 CR for the duration of the exercise, operating from the Stryker wheeled armoured vehicle.
Lieutenant Joshua Serdet, Commanding 4 Platoon, 3 RIFLES, said: “The exercise has been good and we learned a lot off each other. We have obviously got different tactics and it has been nice to share those and work together to solve problems presented to us. Having a free-thinking and live enemy made the training more effective for us and tested our tactics.
“For many of us, it was our first exercise outside the UK, it was an experience and the first time we worked with international partners.”
Rifleman Lewis Corburn said: “It went well. Perhaps a little slower than we are used to back in the UK but this was on a much larger scale and you have got to take that into account.”