M1 Abrams MBT in Bulgaria

US Army Increases Presence in Europe

The US Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Team is heading to Europe this weekend, according to the US Department of Defense.

As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, will leave Fort Carson, Colorado, to take up a nine-month rotation in Easter Europe.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said:

Tanks, trucks and other equipment are scheduled to arrive in Europe this weekend, beginning a nine-month rotation of U.S. Army forces supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve.

This effort is part of our European Reassurance Initiative to maintain persistent, rotational presence of air, land, and sea forces in Central and Eastern Europe.

According to Stars and Stripes, the force will number 4,000 men and will deploy across Eastern Europe. Due to arrive in Bremerhaven , Germany, the force will move in convoy to Poland. US Army 4th Infantry Division spokesman, Lt. Col. Jason Brown, gave details of the deployment: brigade headquarters are designated for Poland, supported by an armored cavalry unit and a field artillery battalion with self-propelled M109 Paladin howitzers; a battalion equipped with M1 Abrams tanks will move to cover the Baltic region of Estonia and Latvia, while another will operate in Germany; and a mechanized infantry battalion with M2 Bradley troop carriers and M1 Abrams tanks will deploy in the Romanian and Bulgarian region.

Speaking at a NATO conference in Brussels, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter described the planned deployment of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team:

It will have an initial exercise in Poland. After that, the brigade will send company-sized units to Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic states. Companies will then remain in the Baltics until the NATO battalions arrive.

In June 2017, the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team will conduct exercise Saber Strike in Poland and the Baltic region, before moving in July to Bulgaria and Romania for exercises Swift Response and Saber Guardian, during which one tank company will cross the Black Sea to Georgia to take part in exercise Noble Partner.

The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (Iron) comprises:

Headquarters and Headquarters Company
4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment (BlackJack)
1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment (Iron Knights)
1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment (Silver Lions)
1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment (Fighting Eagles)
3d Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment (Pacesetters)
588th Brigade Engineer Battalion (Lone Star)
64th Brigade Support Battalion (Mountaineers)

The USA allocated $3.4 billion for the 2016/2017 fiscal year for the ongoing European Reassurance Initiative – three times more than the previous budget – to counter Russian aggression following the situation in the Ukraine.

This complements the earlier deployment of 1,750 soldiers from the US Army’s 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, who arrived in Germany in March 2016.

Sources: Deployments Bolster U.S. Presence in Western Pacific, Europe > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article; 2 brigades of nearly 6,000 troops head to Europe amid growing Russian tensions; Carter Announces Deterrence, Defense Buildup in Europe

Photo: Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, participate in a live-fire tank shoot firing the first ever rounds fired by a U.S. M1A2 tanks in Bulgaria at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, June 24. Transported as part of a tank section from Germany to Bulgaria, the Abrams tank will be used by soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, alongside Bulgarian soldiers from the 6th Brigade Battle Group, during a live-fire exercise during Operation Speed and Power during Kabile 15 as part of Atlantic Resolve-South. Operation Speed and Power is a joint training exercise which demonstrates U.S. Army Europe’s preparedness to deliver strategic effect in Atlantic Resolve-South by showcasing the freedom of movement to maneuver and fire M1A2 Abrams anywhere along the Eastern Flank. By Spc. Jacqueline Dowland, US Army (2015).

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