As part of the exercise, Special Operations Forces from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, Moldova and the U.S. Army 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) partnered alongside Lithuania’s National Defence Volunteer Force, or KASP, to conduct irregular warfare in enemy occupied territory to set conditions on the battlefield for conventional forces. “Integration between SOF and [conventional forces] is critical,” said U.S. Army Maj. David Ahern, Executive Officer of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, also known as the ‘Sky Soldiers.’
The Sky Soldiers’ executive officer added that by ensuring reliable communications and creating a common picture of the operation, they collectively became more lethal and agile. “We are each able to focus on our unique skills while working towards complimentary ends,” said Ahern. “The value of training this way at JMRC is that we achieve this interoperability with U.S. and allied SOF in an incredibly realistic training environment.”
An important task for SOF in supporting conventional forces occurred early in the exercise. Greek Special Operations Forces supported a tactical airborne operation conducted by a long-range reconnaissance platoon from Italy’s Folgore Airborne Brigade. “Exercise Saber Junction 18 provides realistic problem sets in scenarios allowing our special operations forces to apply their skills in unorthodox ways,” said a Greek Special Operations Forces Captain.