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NEWS | June 11, 2018

Army Reserve Soldiers build relationship with Polish civil leaders at Saber Strike 18

By Spc. Daisy Zimmer 221st Public Affairs Detachment

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers with C Company, 457th Civil Affairs Battalion, Wackernheim, Germany, and 2d Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany, successfully conducted a key leader engagement with a local Roman Catholic bishop in support of exercise Saber Strike 18, Elk, Poland, June 6.

The purpose of the engagement was to learn about the local populace’s current attitude toward the presence of American and NATO ally Soldiers, influx of vehicles, and problems currently facing the Polish Catholic Church. 

The bishop is the religious leader of over 400,000 residents, of which over 90 percent are Roman Catholic. 

“It was a very open and honest discussion,” said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Mulligan, civil-military operations center non-commissioned officer in charge of C/457.

This engagement will help build relationships and gain insight into the civilian world to assist 2CR as they complete a tactical road march to Lithuania in support of Saber Strike 18. 

“We add the civilian aspect to the common operating picture,” said Mulligan. “When [the commander] talks about maneuvering… he has complete understanding of civilian posture and how it will positively or negatively impact the mission.” 

Soldiers with C/457 participated in civil engagements in Poland two years ago while supporting 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. That mission led to a strong relationship and good rapport with local leaders, emergency services personnel, and host nation Civil-Military Cooperation soldiers.

The CIMIC and C/457 work very closely together and have for a number of years, said Mulligan. They are always present during engagements to facilitate discussions between the U.S. and host nation.

C/457 will provide several small civil affairs teams to conduct engagements with key religious, political, and emergency service leaders, across Poland and Lithuania during the remainder of Saber Strike 18.

457th CA BN falls under 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, located in Kaiserslautern, Germany, which is the U.S. Army Reserve's only forward deployed multifunctional civil affairs unit in Europe providing civil affairs; movement control; human resource; chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological; public affairs and forward engineering support to U.S. Army Europe.

Saber Strike is a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise that helps facilitate cooperation amongst the U.S., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and 19 other allied and partner nations.