An advanced team of Soldiers assigned to the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team of the Idaho Army National Guard has arrived at the Port of Constanta, Romania in preparation for Exercise Saber Guardian 16.

  More than 100 Idaho Soldiers are currently there to receive equipment and supplies, which will be used during the exercise occurring July 27 to Aug. 7 at the Romanian Land Force Combat Training Center in Cincu, Romania.

Saber Guardian is an annual multinational exercise that rotates among Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine, and this year will include nearly 3,000 personnel from 11 countries – Romania, United States, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Moldova, Poland, Turkey and Ukraine. 

The 116th is comprised of units and personnel from the Idaho, Montana and Oregon Army National Guards augmented with the 125th Multi-role Bridge Company of the South Carolina Army National Guard.  Approximately 1,000 more personnel from the 116th Brigade Combat Team will join roughly 1,500 Soldiers from other U.S.-based units later this month to participate in the exercise.

It took personnel approximately 26 hours to offload the ship that left Charleston, S.C. two weeks prior carrying approximately 300 wheeled and tracked military vehicles belonging to the 116th Brigade and South Carolina’s 122nd Engineer Battalion.  Now underway is the task of filling railcars with tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, HUMVEEs and other equipment bound for central Romania. 

"It will take about eight hours for the trains to reach Cincu," said Chief Warrant Officer Steven Howell, brigade movement officer for the 116th. "Once the vehicles are offloaded the trains will return here, to get another load."

Exercise Saber Guardia is part of U.S. European Command’s Joint Exercise Program designed to enhance interoperability between Romania, the U.S., NATO members and Partnership for Peace nations.

“In addition to preparing and responding to emergencies at home, the 116th also has a responsibility to help ensure peace and stability across the world,” said Col. Farin Schwartz, commander of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team.   “This exercise contributes to the security of our NATO allies, the region and Europe as a whole.” 

Other U.S. units participating in the exercise include U.S. Army European Command; 1st Battalion of the 64th Armor Regiment; 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division; the 21st Theater Support Command; the 16th Sustainment Brigade; the 30th Medical Brigade; the 321st Psychological Operations Group and a number of joint multinational units.

Activities during Saber Guardian 16 will include a Field Training Exercise, a Command Post Exercise and a Combined Live Fire Exercise. 

“This is a great training opportunity to enhance our capabilities to conduct multi-national and coalition operations,” Schwartz said.  “By participating in exercises like Saber Guardian, it sends a clear and strong message that NATO and our partner nations have tremendous capability in ensuring a collective security.”