New US armored unit to begin rotation in Estonia in February

Grand opening of the US military-built infrastructure at Tapa Army Base. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.
Grand opening of the US military-built infrastructure at Tapa Army Base. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Source: (mil.ee)

A new company-sized armored unit of the US Army is to begin its rotation in Estonia in February; the contingent is a part of the US brigade to be stationed in Poland next year.

The US company-sized unit of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the US Army currently stationed in Tapa is to leave Estonia in the second half of February, to be replaced by a company-sized unit of the 1st Battalion of the 69th Armor Regiment, spokespeople for the Estonian Defence Forces told BNS. The new unit is equipped with Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general of the US Army Europe, said in mid-December that at the start of next year, 4,000 US soldiers are to arrive in Germany and will thereafter be sent to Poland.

Hodges said that the troops will arrive at the German port of Bremerhaven on Jan. 6 and will therafter immediately be deployed to Poland, the Baltic states and Romania. Their transfer will be timed and treated as a test of "how fast the force can move from port to field," he said.

"I'm confident in the very powerful signal, the message it will send that the US, along with the rest of NATO, is committed to deterrence," said Hodges.

At the NATO summit in Warsaw in early July, alliance members decided to station four multinational battalions of one thousand personnel each on the alliance's eastern flank. The battalion to be deployed to Poland will be led by the US, while the battalins to be deployed to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will bed led by the UK, Canada and Germany, respectively.

In addition, the US announced that an armored brigade otherwise based in Colorado will be stationed in Poland as well.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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