The deployment marks a new phase of Operation Atlantic Resolve, aimed at demonstrating Washington's commitment to its allies amid fears of Russian aggression following Moscow's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014.
Around 50 soldiers from the U.S. Army Europe’s 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), 10th Mountain Division, along with three UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters and equipment arrived over the past week, “establishing a U.S. Army aviation presence at the [Powidz] air base,” according to a statement by a U.S. Army command unit in Europe known as the 4th Infantry Division Mission Command Element.
The brigade’s Task Force Falcon, which includes 1-501st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion from Fort Bliss, Texas, will continue moving other aircraft, such as AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, in the coming weeks, the statement said.
‘Center of gravity’
It quoted U.S. Army Europe’s Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, as referring to Poland “as the center of gravity” for U.S. troops in this part of Europe on a recent planning trip to Powidz.
“Well, this is the center of the center of gravity. This is it. This is the hub for all of northern Europe, the Baltics,” Hodges said, as quoted in the press release.
By the start of summer, U.S. Army soldiers and aviators based in Poland will participate in multinational training exercises alongside NATO allies and partners, according to the 4th Infantry Division Mission Command Element.
“Saber Strike is one such field training exercise these Poland-based units are slated to support, which will include a division-sized element from the Royal Danish Army working with members of the Lithuanian Armed Forces to complete training objectives,” the statement said, adding that “Falcon’s Talon, a culminating training event for [the] 10th Combat Aviation Brigade occurring at the end of their Europe rotation, will test the brigade’s cumulative knowledge and assess its ability to handle potential contingencies in the region.”
The 10th CAB’s Task Force Falcon currently has personnel, aircraft and equipment in Germany, Latvia, Romania and Poland, according to the statement.
“The brigade is the first aviation brigade deployed to eastern Europe as a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to the collective security of Europe through the deployment of rotational units committed to the enduring peace and stability in the region,” the 4th Infantry Division Mission Command Element said.
It described Operation Atlantic Resolve as “the demonstration of the United States’ commitment to the collective security of eastern Europe through the deployment of rotational U.S. forces in cooperation with NATO allies and partner nations.”
“Led by a division-level tactical headquarters, these rotational units provide a persistent presence and a robust combat capability to strengthen the NATO alliance, deter regional threats, and respond to crisis,” according to the statement. (str/pk)