WIESBADEN, Germany (May 19, 2014) -- The Soldiers of U.S. Army Europe had the opportunity Friday, to gain Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh's insights into the command's strategic capabilities and activities in Poland and the Baltics.
McHugh's time at the U.S. Army Europe, known as USAREUR, headquarters is part of a broader visit to U.S. Army locations in Europe that includes observing a large-scale, multinational training exercise at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, and a first-hand look at paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade training with Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian allies across the Baltics. The exercise has taken on added significance in light of recent actions by Russia in Ukraine.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade recently deployed to the Baltic region to begin exercises with NATO troops in expanded U.S. land forces training scheduled to take place for the next few months and beyond. The multinational training fulfills the USAREUR strategic objective of preserving and enhancing NATO interoperability, and demonstrates the United States' ongoing commitment to regional allies.
"The importance of USAREUR's persistent presence in Poland and the Baltics, and what it means to these countries, cannot be overstated, " said McHugh. "The USAREUR team should be proud of its key role in demonstrating U.S. commitment to our allies in the region. The speed with which the 173rd Airborne Brigade and other U.S. Army Europe Soldiers deployed, demonstrates the importance of maintaining relationships and interoperability with NATO and strategic access to the European theater."
Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., USAREUR commander, also highlighted USAREUR's essential role in supporting multiple geographic combatant commands with strategic access and facilitation not only for Europe, but for units deploying worldwide.
In addition to discussing strategic capabilities, persistent land force presence in Poland and the Baltics, and future force structure, Campbell updated McHugh on the command's initiatives to combat sexual assault.
To help eliminate sexual assault in the ranks, USAREUR launched a robust leader and Soldier training program. Some of their efforts were recognized earlier this year when a USAREUR Soldier, Master Sgt. Richard Fry, was named the Army's Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of the year.
"USAREUR is an important part of the team in the Army's fight against sexual assault," said McHugh. "A key component to their success is significant and continuous senior leader emphasis and involvement. I commend their efforts toward eliminating sexual assault in the ranks."
McHugh had lunch with Soldiers at the Strong Teams dining facility, where he thanked them for their service, assured them that they play a valuable role in the Army, and that the future depends on them and the choices they make as Soldiers and leaders. He also listened to the Soldiers' thoughts on their role in the Army's future.
"This was an important opportunity to thank the U.S. Army Europe team for all that they do and the sacrifices they have made in support of our nation," McHugh said. "When I look at everything USAREUR Soldiers and civilians do, I can't help but be proud. From setting theaters and maintaining strategic access in support of other global combatant commands, to building critical relationships with key allies and partners, to enhancing NATO interoperability through security cooperation events and multinational training exercises; USAREUR excels at them all. Many thanks to the Soldiers and civilians for a job well done and to the families who sacrifice much to support them."
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia as U.S. European Command's force of choice and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.