Soldiers of the Montana National Guard are currently in Eastern Europe taking part in a multinational exercise.
The exercise - Saber Guardian - began on July 27th and runs through August 7th at the Romanian Land Force Combat Training Center in Cincu, Romania.
The U.S. Army says that Saber Guardian is a joint Romanian-U.S. exercise designed to promote regional stability and security, while strengthening partnership capacity, and fostering trust while improving interoperability between Romania, the U.S., NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations.
The deployment is Sergeant Tyler Weddle's first time on a military exercise outside of the United States.
Sgt Weddle said, "Over the years we have done a lot of training for stuff like this. It will be different because we are in a different climate but at the same time we are putting forth the same training. I think we will do good."
This exercise not only helps build relations with United States allies but it also helps soldiers from Montana, Oregon, and Idaho better prepare for future deployments.
The trip was partially funded through a grant from the Greater Montana Foundation.
The Greater Montana Foundation benefits the people of Montana by encouraging communication, with an emphasis on electronic media, on issues, trends, and values of importance to present and future generations of Montanans.
(JULY 25, 2016) “I joined the Army to make my parents proud, and another thing that got me was the chance to see different foreign places,” said Chase Adkins a Montana National Guard Soldier.
It's an opportunity Adkins will get to experience after he and 500 other Montana National Guard Soldiers deployed to Romania Saturday morning for three weeks.
This is the first time troops are deploying to this country. Adkins has been serving in the Guard for four years now, and he finally gets to leave Fort Harrison to train overseas for three weeks.
“I’m excited to see what their culture is and see the different customs,” said Adkins.
After preparing for nine months, the 163rd Combined Arms Battalion soldiers have their bags are packed, and they’re ready to go.
“Everyone is eager just to get there and start their mission. These guys are hard workers, and these guys want to do what they’ve been training to do,” said Justin Bailey, Company Commander.
In May they sent tanks and fighter vehicles to Romania by rail so they would arrive at the same time as the soldiers.
Commander Bailey says the purpose of this mission is to connect with our NATO allies, "we’re here to show a presence, train with other foreign national countries and develop that bond,” said Bailey.
Other countries like Canada, Ukraine, and Turkey will train with our Montana soldiers.
Bailey says it’s a win-win for everyone involved, "learn tactics from them, they learn tactics from us and build that team."
For the soldier born and raised in Hamilton, this trip is not only about training, but also about a learning a foreign culture.
“Just get to meet some of the people out there to experience something other than the United States culture,” said Adkins.
Our coverage of the National Guard training overseas will continue as MTN is sending a reporter to Romania during the last week of their mission.