CHECHLO, Poland -- Just before sunset, a band of green parachutes stippled across the sky at Dabrówka lookout as paratroopers with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, conducted an airborne insertion.
The insertion arriving in Chechlo, Poland on Monday, Sept. 12, was part of a 96-hour operation known as Bayonet Strike, which took place over the span of four Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.
"From Estonia we've had four additional airborne operations demonstrating the capability of our battalion to rapidly assemble," said Capt. Matthew Heath, commander of Company D, 2nd Bn., 503rd Infantry Regiment.
"It demonstrates our speed to deploy, which translates into a deterrence factor across the Baltic states. Our battalion can use a NATO alliance aircraft to move 500 paratroopers across four countries in a matter of 96 hours."
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, and is capable of conducting a full range of military operations across the U.S. European, Central and Africa Command areas of responsibility within 18 hours.
Operation Atlantic Resolve is a U.S.-led effort in Eastern Europe that demonstrates U.S. commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region.
"This morning we woke up in Italy and this afternoon we floated down across Poland," Heath said.
Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment will remain in Poland over the next five months in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, replacing Company D, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.
Operation Atlantic Resolve presents a unique training opportunity, said Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Popovich, platoon sergeant with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment. While training at various locations across Poland, the paratroopers will work alongside their NATO partners to establish interoperability and reassurance.
"In Italy our training areas are limited so coming to places like this really helps us out in the long run," Popovich said.
The event drew in a large crowd including over a dozen Polish media representatives and additional spectators from the local community.
"It was one of the first things I noticed when I landed and got myself together," Popovich said. "I put my weapon in operation and got my radio check, then I looked up and saw a massive crowd of Polish local nationals. It was cool to see them come out and support us and knowing that they support us being here."
The paratroopers will join the Polish 18th Airborne Battalion, 6th Airborne Brigade, later this week to begin planning and preparation for Pantera, a joint training exercise that will begin Sep. 18 and run through Sep. 23.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 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.