Poland-bound US tanks roll east in military signal to Russia
BREMERHAVEN, Germany — U.S. soldiers offloaded scores of combat vehicles from ship to shore Sunday at the massive port here, pressing forward with one of the largest U.S. force movements in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
Some 2,500 pieces of gear belonging to the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, including Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, are bound for NATO’s eastern flank, making a 6,000-mile journey from Fort Carson, Col.
“Let me be very clear. This is one part of our efforts to deter Russian aggression, ensure territorial integrity of our allies and maintain a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous and at peace,” said Lt. Gen. Tim Ray, deputy commander of U.S. European Command, in remarks to reporters in Bremerhaven.
Ray, flanked by senior military leaders and standing before the Army’s signature M1A1 tank, described EUCOM as a headquarters “in transition,” as it pivots from a post- Cold War posture that was focused more on partnerships and relationship-building. “We had time to bring our forces to readiness and respond to a crisis,” Ray said. “That may not be the case today.”
From a more assertive Russia to unrest on NATO’s southern doorstep in Syria and terrorism threats in Europe, the Continent’s “strategic environment is changing rapidly,” he said.
The movement of armor equipment and the 3,500 troops who serve in the 3rd Brigade out of Colorado, serves as the signature effort of the military’s push to enhance its presence in Europe, a continent where for 20 years the U.S. force was in a state of decline.
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