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convoys require a diplomatic clear- ance approved by the U.S. embassy in Poland. This complicated request usually takes 30 days to process. For this exercise, however, Poland agreed to decrease the approval time from 30 days to five. Navigating these diplomatic is-


the port had to be redone. When the first commercial trucks arrived at the port, the cargo did not match the requests and some carriers refused to take equipment.” Soldiers from the 230th Sustain-


ment Brigade (SB) thought they’d solved the problem by procuring some Polish heavy equipment trucks (HETs), which could get the cargo where it needed to go. But when the trucks showed up, they were smaller than the HETs the U.S. soldiers were used to working with — too small, in fact, to carry the cargo. Hammons says, “The resourceful 230th SB took off the front loader, creating two separate pieces that could be line- hauled by the Polish HETs. [This is just one example of how exercises] like Anakonda help Army Reserve sustainment soldiers understand how to quickly and efficiently move personnel and equipment, which improves their readiness.” The reservists also had some


legal hurdles to jump through be- fore hitting the ground, as all of the participating nations have to work within the framework of Polish law. For example, all military convoys, including Polish ones, require a permit to deploy signed by a Polish three-star general. In addition, U.S.


U.S. and Polish soldiers watch a multinational live fire exercise at the Buci- erz Range in Drawsko Promorskie, Poland.


62 MILITARY OFFICER AUGUST 2016


sues gives senior Army leaders the necessary experience so that if the service had to deploy this many troops in a time of war, it wouldn’t be their first rodeo, so to speak. Like any complicated maneuvers where mis- steps can mean life or death, deploy- ing a huge force to Eastern Europe is something worth practicing before the unit actually is dodging bullets. Anakonda’s international flavor


doesn’t just provide extra challenges, though. It also makes it a huge rela- tionship-building opportunity. To- day’s Army fights in an operational environment that requires leaders at every level to be fluent in interna- tional cooperation. With 24 nations participating, Anakonda is one of the largest training events of its kind in the world. Hammons says that for his troops, working directly with their Polish counterparts has been extremely positive. “The 364th ESC has built an incred- ible relationship with the Polish Army


here in Warsaw with the 1st Armored Brigade,” he says. “They have been extremely helpful providing life sup- port services for over 1,000 person- nel as well as providing short-notice transportation and materiel-handling support at the Kasern and Warsaw airports.” Soldiers from the 364th ESC even participated in a friendly Polish Veterans’ Day marksmanship contest between U.S. and Polish marksmen. According to Hammons, the Ameri- cans did “quite well, given they were only allowed three practice rounds with an unfamiliar weapon.” Each of the reservists participat-


ing in Anakonda undoubtedly will return stateside with an enduring memory of their international expe- rience. They also will have learned what it’s like to do their job in an en- vironment that’s anything but same- old-same-old. And the active duty commanders and soldiers who work with the 364th ESC will have learned just how capable the Army Reserves are of stepping up in a big way and getting the mission done — even in Putin’s backyard.


MO


— Marc Acton is a chief warrant officer two in the Tennessee Army National Guard and a full-time writer. His last fea- ture article for Military Officer was “Mili- tary Athletes Aim for Gold,” June 2016.


PHOTO: SPC. STEVEN HITCHCOCK, USA


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