WASHINGTON — More than 4,000 high-readiness troops from eight nations gathered in Circu, Romania, to execute Noble Jump 17, a training exercise designed to test and refine NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF.

Noble Jump 17 drew troops from the U.K., the United States, Romania, the Netherlands, Albania, Spain, Poland and Norway, traveling via rail, air, land and sea.

The alerts began May 17, presenting the first leg of the important test: transportation. The VJTF is designed to deploy within 48 hours of an alert and is kept on short notice; its rapid transport time is vital.

"It is our first major exercise that will see significant forces and their equipment moving across Europe and will provide an opportunity for us to demonstrate that we are able to quickly deploy forces to wherever they are needed to prevent conflict," said Lt. Gen. Alain Parent, deputy commander of Joint Force Command Naples, which has command of the NATO Response Force for 2017.

"The Alert phase of the exercise is a key drill, which we need to practice to ensure that our procedures are correct, and I’m pleased to be able to say that it has gone very smoothly," he added.

The exercise is designed to test the core elements of NATO’s Readiness Action Plan and displays the physical capabilities of NATO-ally counties to respond rapidly to threats.

The exercise focused on land capabilities and provided the participating countries opportunities to experience new equipment and tactics.

"The best part so far was the exercise with Apaches and Chinooks because I never had the opportunity to work with these vehicles, use them," 2nd Lt. Jakub Gryn from the Polish Armed Forces said. "It’s very good to check how other nations are working, how they train, how they conduct their procedures, what are the differences between Polish forces, Spanish forces, Romanians, U.S. Army and British forces, too. So, it’s very good for us together, all experiences."

The exercise concluded on June 14 with a live-fire exercise attended by international defense VIPs.

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