Poland and other NATO members have launched a Anakonda 16 massive military exercise

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Poland and other NATO members have launched a massive military exercise at a time when eastern European nations are growing more worried about Russia.

It is called Anakonda-16 and the aim is to train and test NATO’s response to threats on land, sea and in the air. But Russia considers the presence of NATO troops so close to its border a security threat.

Anakonda 16 is a Polish-led exercise taking place in Poland, June 7-17. The exercise will include over 25,000 participants from more than 20 nations, supporting assurance and deterrence measures by demonstrating allied defense capabilities to deploy, mass and sustain combat power.

U.S. Army Col. Phil Brooks, commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, thanked his Polish hosts for inviting them to participate in the exercise while stressing Poland’s importance in the collective defense of Europe.

“Poland continues to be a key ally for the United States, and the U.S. Army’s participation in this exercise is just one example of our continued commitment to the government and people of Poland,” said Brooks. “The fact that more than 20 countries are participating in this exercise demonstrates the value Poland brings to the NATO Alliance and our partners throughout Europe.”

Polish Brig. Gen. Dariusz Gorniak, the commander of the Polish 10th Mechanized Brigade and the Land Forces Commander at Drawsko Pomorskie for Anakonda 16, said the exercise allows units to build interoperability while strengthening their collective defense.

“[Anakonda] provides participating companies the opportunity to focus on the ability to operate together and defend against any threat to their security,” said Gorniak. “The exercise is a chance to assure allies and partners of strength and commitment.”

Brooks also stressed the importance of training alongside and getting to know one another on a personal level.

“The relationships built during exercises like Anakonda are more important now than ever,” said Brooks. “We cannot ensure the collective defense of Europe without our Allies and partners, and if we are going to fight together, we must train together.”

The majority of 1st Brigade will be training at Drowsko Pomorskie throughout Anakonda, with 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment training at Zagan Training Area and 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment training at Orsycz Training Area falling under Polish brigades.

At Drawsko Pomorskie, soldiers from Albania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Sweden will be training underneath the 1st Brigade along with National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from five states.

Some of the exercises scheduled include situational training exercises, a mass casualty and decontamination exercise, a fire-support coordination exercise, and company combined arms live-fire exercises.

“Anakonda will present some complex problem sets that will test our formations and systems,” Brooks told the Soldiers. “Continue to challenge yourselves and ask what else you can do to help the unit to your left or right, regardless of the flag on their shoulder. Those are the people you are going to see fighting beside you in the future.”

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