NATO Allies and partners raised their Nation’s flags during the official opening ceremony for the multinational training exercise Saber Guardian at the Joint National Training Center, in Cincu, Romania, July 7, 2107. The North Carolina National Guard’s 5th Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment was one of the units rendering their salute to Romanian Army Brig. Gen. Gheorghe Visan, 2nd Infantry Division Commander, marking the official start of Saber Guardian. With a few days already in country the 5-113th settled into a rhythm, but it was not without its challenges. Upon arrival to Romania the Soldiers were greeted with lots of rain, making it difficult to get their trucks up muddy hills. However, they pushed through, set up their camp and were soon ready to begin the exercise. Saber Guardian 17 is a U.S. European Command exercise that took place in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria involving more than 25,000 service members from over 20 allied and partner nations. The N.C. National Guard’s 5-113th was one of the subordinate artillery elements working with the Romanian 8 LAROM and the South Dakota Field Artillery to improve their interoperability under a unified command.“I can definitely attest to the value that this training brings to Romanian military because we have the chance to practice our procedures and adjust to have common procedures,” said Col. Cipriano Marin, Commander of the Romanian’s 8 LAROM Artillery Brigade. “We also learned a lot since arriving here.”All three artillery companies developed their communication through the training and learned how to support each other in the battlefield.“Our interactions with the 1-147th Field Artillery [South Dakota National Guard] have been stupendous,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan Clark, who was working in the 5-113’s Battalion Fire Direction Center during the exercise. “Those guys are really good at what they do. They’re anxious to get in the field and work with us, not against us, it is very refreshing. Everybody seems to be on the same page and really wants to make this happen and do a great job.”Being able to conduct this scale of exercise is a unique experience that cannot be easily duplicated in the United States.“This is the kind of training that you can’t get and replicate at home stations,” said Army Col. Kelly Webster, Commander of the 1st Calvary Division Artillery. The ability to work with our allies in close proximity to meet our mission requirements and improve our collective readiness is just something that is invaluable to the training.”The 5-113th FA’s opportunity to train in a new environment and new terrain offered a much wider range of training opportunities, from the logistics of travel and setting up, to the actual launching of rockets.“The satisfaction Soldiers get from doing their job, from the launcher crews to our directions centers, on new terrain and really enjoy getting ready to live fire and certify, it’s just really satisfying as a commander to see them respond to challenges and step up and really perform.” Said Lt. Col. Paul Hollenack, Commander of the 5th Battalion, 113tth Field Artillery Regiment.