The Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Taara Army Base (Taara sõjaväelinnak) welcomed additional US allies last week, bringing the total US military presence in the network to 330 people. The expanded infantry unit is training with the 2nd Infantry Brigade and participates in the Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) exercise in Estonia.
The new U.S. Defense Forces troops who have been deployed to Estonia will continue to serve with the U.S. unit deployed to Estonia last year. The unit, which arrived in Estonia as part of bilateral defense cooperation, is part of the efforts announced by US President Joe Biden at the NATO Madrid Summit to strengthen the eastern flank of the alliance.
"The US Army V Corps has deployed additional people and resources to Estonia in recent months to support ongoing training missions. With the increase in forces, we will be able to work more closely with Estonian Defense Forces units," Lt. Col. Eric Evans, battalion commander with 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, said.
George P. Kent, the United States' ambassador to Estonia, praised the rise in the number of soldiers. "These additional US forces will reinforce our unwavering commitment to Estonia, as well as to bolstering NATO's eastern flank's collective defense and deterrence," he said.
Since the end of last year, the US infantry unit has been stationed at the Taara Army Base and has participated in several exercises across Estonia. The US infantry unit is part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade during Estonia's Spring Storm (Kevadtorm), a large-scale military training exercise, including 5,000 Estonian and 2,000 Allied forces.
Along with US units, the British-led NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup is presently stationed in Estonia with French and Danish units as well as Icelandic experts. In addition, there is a British Air Force unit stationed in Estonia as part of the air security mission in the Baltic states.
Editor: Barbara Oja, Kristina Kersa