US Troops Arrive at Ämari Base (6)
This afternoon, a total of 150 soldiers in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team arrived at the Ämari air base. For Estonia, it is the first semi-permanent deployment of ground-based forces from another NATO country.
(Uudised.err.ee has a gallery and video.)
The first plane touched down at the Ämari air base at 15.33 and the second one shortly after.
The troops were welcomed by the US Ambassador to Estonia Jeffrey Levine and Navy Captain Igor Schvede and a Scouts Battalion company.
Major General Richard C. Longo, deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training for the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), accompanied the troops.
The US soldiers will take part in the major annual spring exercise, Kevadtorm, and will then be replaced by subsequent US units of the same size in similar shifts until at least the end of the year.
Sergeant Frank Enriquez and Captain Thodd Wilson are both from the company that will stay in Estonia until the end of the year.
The company will be housed in Paldiski facility that only 20 years ago housed Soviet soldiers.
Enriquez highlighted the presence of allied forces in Estonia and Eastern Europe. It is important for the allies to know about each other's activities, he said, adding that hopefully there will be no need to put to practice what they have practiced in the exercises.