By Sgt. A.M. LaVeyOctober 21, 2015
VICENZA, Italy-Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, currently deployed to various areas in Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, are scheduled to return home to Italy via three military ground convoys and one airborne operation Oct. 22 through Nov. 3.
The three convoys, made up of more than 40 vehicles carrying more than 200 paratroopers, will cover more than 1620 miles and will cross nine international borders, including Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, and finally Italy.
Along the way, public events are currently scheduled in Pranevezys and Vilnius, Lithuania; Krakow, Warsaw and Rzeszow, Poland; Tata, Hungary; Petrinja and Zagreb, Croatia; Presov, Slovkia; Ljubljana, Slovenia - in order to engage with local communities, allowing them to meet with the paratroopers and host-nation military forces as well to their military equipment up-close.
"This road march, known as Operation Bayonet Thrust, provides a highly-visible demonstration of the U.S.'s commitment to Europe and the resolve of the NATO alliance," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Courtney V. Tyus, the brigade mobility planner for the 173rd.
The operation required coordination between the brigade, U.S. Army Europe, the U.S. State Department, as well as allied governments and militaries throughout the alliance.
"Bayonet Thrust is a practical demonstration of the ability of the alliance to make things happen," said Tyus. "We're travelling more than 1,600 miles and we can only do this with the participation and cooperation of each of the countries we're passing through."
While a majority of the deployed paratroopers are convoying home with their vehicles, the rest are scheduled to redeploy from Latvia back to Italy via an airborne assault into the Italian air force base in Rivolto, Italy.
Operation Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to the collective security of NATO and to enduring peace and stability in the region, in light of Russia's illegal actions in Ukraine.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the U.S. Army contingency response force in Europe and is capable of deploying ready forces to conduct the full range of military operations across the U.S. European, Africa and Central Commands' areas of operations within 18 hours.