GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Soldiers from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division started drawing tanks and Bradleys from the European Activity Set at sites in Germany, Romania and Bulgaria last week as the brigade prepares for Exercise Anakonda 16.
Anakonda 16 will take place throughout Poland from June 7-17. The exercise will involve more than 25,000 participants from 24 nations, supporting assurance and deterrence measures by demonstrating allied defense capabilities to deploy, mass and sustain combat power.
The brigade will shoot gunnery in Germany, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland over the next two months to prepare for Anakonda.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Steven Peck, executive officer for Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, said the soldiers will focus on maintenance and gunnery to ensure their crews and equipment are ready.
“As a heavy (armored) brigade, we’ll continue to push working maintenance on our equipment while we prepare for gunnery operations and qualify as crews, sections and platoons on our gunnery tables,” he said Peck.
For Spc. Anthony Calderon, an armor crewman with Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment, this will be the first time he will shoot as a tank gunner, which he said will help develop him as a leader.
“I have been in five or six gunneries at Fort Stewart, but never as a gunner,” he said. “(Gunnery) will teach me a lot about accountability of the tank’s tools, things I don’t know about in the range tower, and scoring for the different tables.”
Though the soldiers are waiting to start sending rounds downrange, the biggest motivation for them is getting to Poland afterward to train with the multinational forces.
“We are excited to get to Poland once gunnery concludes in Grafenwoehr,” Peck said. “We are looking forward to training with the Polish brigade in that multinational exercise, building interoperability, building relationships and being able to train and fight with our multinational allies and partners.”