Polish, American soldiers work together to conquer obstacles

Thursday, October 01, 2015

In U.S. Army basic combat training, there’s a portion of training dedicated to performing a team obstacle course. The purpose: to team soldiers up and test their ability to work together to accomplish a shared objective.

Now imagine the soldiers are from different countries, speak a different language and have different tactics and gear.

This is the scenario that played out in Wedrzyn, Poland, during a combined training course with U.S. soldiers, of P Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, and Polish soldiers, from Poland’s 6th Airborne Brigade.

The four-part course paired the allies together to show they were more capable of overcoming obstacles as a team rather than individually.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeffery Taylor, a soldier assigned to P Troop, said the course was a good way for him and his team to understand the training the Polish soldiers conduct.

"This gives us a chance to see what kind of training and obstacle courses the Polish soldiers do," Taylor said.

Adding, "It allows us to see how they work, and overall I think it’s a pretty good course."

Pfc. Joshua Switzer, an indirect fire infantryman assigned to P Troop, said the training was different enough from what they’re used to, that it offered unique challenges and lessons for him and his fellow soldiers.

"We’re used to doing these courses with our soldiers, so working with these guys adds an extra degree of challenge," Switzer said. "Their weapons, obstacles and the way they work are different from ours so it’s pretty cool learning from them."

As the teams cycled through the course, they were put through various challenges designed to test their own abilities as well as those of their team members.

They had to climb walls that were too high for an individual to climb alone while wearing heavy protective equipment.

As the team approached a wall, one team member acted as a ladder while another team member climbed to the top of the wall and pulled his fellow teammate over in order to complete the obstacle.

U.S. Army Pfc. Devin Welch, P Troop, said he had a good time during the event, as it allowed him to work side-by-side with the Polish troops.

"I like working with the Polish troops, because it gave me a chance to really get to know them and work hard with them," Welch said.

During one particular event, Welch recalled he and two of the Polish soldiers were in a maze-like room where it was total darkness.

"I was with two of the Polish guys and it was really dark," he said.

He added, "Even though there was a language barrier, we were able to overcome it and make it through."

At the end of the day, both groups had the chance to work together to learn from each other and overcome the obstacles of the course as well as obstacles of language and military training.

The soldiers of P Troop are here as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing multinational partnership focused on combined training and security cooperation between NATO allies.

Led by the 4th Infantry Division Mission Command Element and in conjunction with European partner nations, Atlantic Resolve is intended to improve operational capacity in a range of missions and ensure continued peace and stability throughout Europe.