BRASOV, Romania -- It had been a long, two day journey beginning at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base but as the Troopers assigned to 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment rolled into Brasov, Romania on the final leg of their Cavalry March, they were met with smiles and support from the city's local residents.
With almost 400 kilometers under their belt, the unit was met with a parade and streets filled with spectators, as they watched history unfold before their eyes.
"We are here to mark yet another first in the history of NATO's Romanian membership," said Mr. Dean Thompson, Charge' d Affairs for the U.S. Embassy. "The exercise that we are witnessing today, erases any doubt that NATO forces can move rapidly across the rugged terrain of Romania to meet any contingency."
During the Cavalry March, 2nd Squadron made its way through several different townships and cities, stopping off in places such as Ploiesti and Sinaia to interact with Romanian citizens while also demonstrating their ability to conduct long range operations.
"What began as a concept after the NATO summit in Wales (United Kingdom,) last September, is now a new reality," said Thompson. "NATO forces are exercising here, on our eastern flank, in numbers that were inconceivable only one and a half years ago."
Throughout the trip, several events allowed for the Troopers to introduce the people of Romania to the different sides of today's U.S. military that many civilians don't get to see. Romanians were able to interact with the Soldiers while being given tours of their Stryker Combat Vehicles and equipment.
Other events, such as a wreath laying ceremony at a fallen U.S. Soldier's gravesite and at a World War II memorial as well as an additional welcoming ceremony at Peles Castle, brought with them a feeling of humbleness and gratitude for the Troopers of 2nd Squadron.
"I am truly honored to be here today as we recognize the 387 U.S. service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation and the betterment of mankind," said Lt. Col. Theodore A. Johnson, 2nd Squadron Commander. "As an American and a Soldier, I am humbled by today's event."
With the NATO Alliance growing stronger each day, it was important to the Soldiers and leaders to not only recognize the sacrifices made in the past but to emphasize the steps being taken to increase the relations between the two countries for the future.
"At the summit, our leaders pledged to both reassure and install adaptive measures," said Thompson. "This march is a visual demonstration that we have put those words into action."
With the combined efforts of the Soldiers from the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, the 4-3 Assault Helicopter Battalion "Task Force Brawler," and the 709th Military Police Battalion, 2nd Squadron was able to transport their Troopers and equipment throughout Romania to start their training at the Cincu Training Center, thus, making the Cavalry March a great success.