New American Troops Rotating Into Estonia in October, Along With Tanks (17)
The United States Department of Defense announced Wednesday that 600 soldiers from the Fort Hood, Texas-based 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, will rotate to the Baltic states and Poland in October.
The deployment, the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes said, is part of what the American military calls "Operation Atlantic Resolve," which a Pentagon spokesman said is "to demonstrate US commitment to reassuring its NATO allies."
As part of the operation, the American 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, the "Sky Soldiers," was deployed to Estonia in April. A total of 150 troops arrived at Ämari air base, and have been housed in Paldiski, doing interoperability training with units with Estonian Defense Forces and public relations events throughout the country. Similar units have been deployed in Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.
The brigade was scheduled to rotate out in October, and the 1st Brigade will take over their role in training exercises in Eastern Europe. They were originally deployed in the wake of Russia's occupation of Crimea in February and the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine.
According to the Defense Department News service, officials said the US "is demonstrating its continued commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region, in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine."
Army Col. Steven Warren said that unlike the light equipment footprint of the paratrooper brigade, the replacements will bring a heavier land arsenal with them for their exercises in their three-month rotation.
"They are bringing training equipment to include infantry fighting vehicles, cavalry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, M1 tanks, engineering equipment and other equipment organic to US cavalry units,” Warren said.
The M1 Abrams tank is the mainstay of the US Army and Marines, and saw heavy action in Iraq. It is the third generation of American battle tanks, and saw deployment in Western Europe during the Cold War before their heavy use in combat during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and the 2003 Iraq War.