PLOIEȘTI, Romania –
Story by Capt. Jeku Arce
221st Public Affairs Detachment
PLOIEȘTI, Romania – The roar of military engines rumble the streets during the morning workday. These large vehicles are greeted by waves and cheers from children, families and locals as they park in the city center. Curiosity brings the crowd closer wanting to touch the metal giants and see the people that control them.
Putting on a public static display such as this is no easy task. It takes a lot of coordination from military and local civilian authorities to make this event a success.
Civil Affairs Team 5745, Delta Company, 457th Civil Affairs Battalion, conducted a civil affairs engagement July 11 with the regional governor of Prahova, Mădălin Lupea, in Ploiești to facilitate the setup of 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s strykers in the city center with Romanian Army’s military vehicles the next day as part of Saber Guardian 17, the largest of the 18 Black Sea Region Exercises this year.
The entire leadership of the regional governor’s office was very accommodating, said Staff Sgt. Amelia Bayer, CAT 5745 Team Sergeant.
“They bent over backwards to make [the static display] a success,” she added.
Civil affairs engagements are vital in strengthening military-civilian relationships. They require coordination across interagency, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations as well as with the private sector according to the U.S. Army field manual on civil affairs operations.
Coordinating with host nation civil-military cooperation partners helps U.S. Army CATs during engagements.
We have an obvious language barrier, said Sgt. William Thompson, CAT 5745 Civil Affairs Non-Commissioned Officer.
“Our interpreters translate words, but our CIMIC partners translate the meaning of those words,” he added.
CIMIC partners provide information to help CATs understand the well-being of the community.
“I need to understand the feeling of the population and their feeling of the military so we know what posture to take and how the military can best interact with the local populace,” said Bayer.
Thompson and Bayer currently live in Europe, 14 and 13 years respectively. Bayer believes being stationed here gives U.S. Army Reserve civil affairs soldiers an advantage over their peers who are stateside.
We don’t have to deal with the initial culture shock, we’ve traveled Europe for years and have a feel for the culture, says Bayer.
“We live here, we are part of the European community,” she added.
The static display on July 12 consisted of five 2CR strykers, two Romanian military vehicles, a face-painting camouflage station for children, weapons displays, and free admission to the city museum with approximately one-thousand locals attending.
“All of the hard work was done during the engagement,” said Bayer. “Everything fell into place and I get to stand back and watch the success.”
Exercise Saber Guardian 17, a U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational exercise, takes place in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania July 11 to 20, 2017.
SG17 is larger in both scale and scope over previous iterations. Approximately 25,000 service members from 22 allied and partner nations will take part, and the exercise highlights participant deterrence capabilities, specifically the ability to mass forces at any given time anywhere in Europe.
361st CA BDE, located in Kaiserslautern, Germany, is the U.S. Army Reserve’s only forward deployed civil affairs unit in Europe providing civil affairs support to USAREUR.