CRAIOVA, Romania — “We are opening the door for a lasting relationship” is how Romanian Brig. Gen. Christian Dan described a combined staff exercise on Feb. 3 in Craiova, Romania.
Dan commands NATO’s Multi-National Division Southeast and hosted a command post exercise in his headquarters in Craiova. The event partnered Dan’s brigade staff with the battalion staff from Fort Hood’s 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment and demonstrated the increased amount of interoperability between Romania, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Canada and Italy, the NATO nations who participated in the training.
The training, led by Dan’s brigade staff, focused on a number of tactical and operational problems. The scenarios forced the staffs to coordinate internally and externally to respond to the problems.
“I was fortunate to see the staff collaboration from start to finish as my battalion’s liaison officer in the brigade’s tactical operations center,” 1st Lt. David Navidad, 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt., said. “As a young lieutenant I took a step back and was amazed that in my second year in the Army I was working alongside officers from Canada, Hungary, Spain and Italy, while deployed to Romania.”
A number of Romanian soldiers assigned to 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt. were also impressed with the training. Cpl. Marius Stan, who serves as a radio-telephone operator for the unit, helped provide reports to the brigade headquarters from the battalion headquarters.
“We as different militaries come across different issues and solve them in different ways. It is interesting seeing the various ways 1-5 Cav. solves the issues. It is very efficient,” he said. “I believe the main idea with this training is learning to adapt to different situations, different problems and learning how to solve them. The CPX is going great.”
Pfc. Alexandra Dragnea, also a Romanian radio-telephone operator assigned to 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt. during the training, enjoyed her experience with her U.S. counterpart.
“For us, it is a great opportunity because our military only benefits from this exercise. 1-5 Cav. supports us well, not only with their technology and equipment, but with their leadership and operational guidance,” Dragnea said. “I want to thank the 1-5 Cav. for being patient with our English speaking. I know it is not always easy. I sure hope I to get to train with 1-5 Cav. again in more exercises. Go Black Knights!”
For the duration of the four day training event, 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt. reported to the multi-national brigade, while working closely with their partnered battalions. The training forced the battalion to work through complex problems while trying to defend against an attack from an aggressive enemy.
“I never understood all the staff has to do to make an operation work,” Navidad said. “My experiences during this training exercise exposed me to the complexities of staff work and how that only gets harder in a multi-national environment.”
1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt. deployed in October 2019 to Europe for nine months in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The battalion has forces in Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia.