1st Cavalry Division hosted a delegation of five Poland military leaders, Nov. 29, to increase interoperability between the two armies by observing maintenance activities and facilities here at Fort Hood.
“We are here with the Polish team to look into the Abrams tanks,” Col. Marek Brylonek, Defense Cooperation Attaché Poland office in Washington D.C., said. “We are trying to learn as much as possible about maintenance and any issues pertaining to the Abrams tank.”
In July, Poland announced that they would purchase 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks from the U.S. The tanks are set to arrive to Poland as early as 2022.
“Today we had an opportunity to engage the Polish delegation on how we exercise maintenance,” Maj. Stephen Barnes, S-3 executive officer, 1st Battalion, 12th Cav. Regiment, said. “We were able to talk through some of the sustainment enterprise that we have, the infrastructure in our motor pool and provide them with our subject matter experts that we have to make sure our fleet is capable and ready for combat.”
“It is a very informative visit to the 1st Cavalry Division,” Brylonek added. “We are really grateful for this opportunity and the expertise of their Soldiers.”
He discussed that they are currently focusing on the Abrams tanks and that they have began procuring additional equipment from the U.S., both for the land and air components of their military.
During their visit, the Polish delegation was able to also see special tools that are used, containerized equipment and the day in the life of maintenance personnel and the tank crew who ensure that the M1 Abrams tanks are always ready.
“I think working together like this has a great influence on the United States and Polish partnership,” Brylonek said. “A goal of the Polish Ministry of Defense is to have similar if not the same equipment as the U.S. Army that is in Poland. This will increase the joint interoperability of our forces, especially since we train together.”
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cerpico Arizala, transportation chief for 1st Bn., 12th Cav. Regt., said as he reflected on a time where he was working with the Polish army in 2015 during a joint training mission. If the armies are able to continue to test the U.S. and Polish equipment, Arizala believes this could enhance the joint training opportunities while we are working together in Europe.
In addition to the maintenance, he believes 1st Cav. Div. can continue building on the Polish army’s knowledge of the M1 Abrams Tanks by educating them on the certifications and Soldier elements that are an essential part of the mission.
Brylonek said that the visit was very informative and he is hopeful that in the future they can continue this partnership and can have additional opportunities to learn more about other capabilities.