By Sgt. 1st Class Jacob A. McDonald, 21st Theater Sustainment CommandJanuary 6, 2017
BREMERHAVEN, Germany -- The first pieces of equipment from 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, rolled off the boat here January 6, 2017, beginning back-to-back rotations of U.S. troops and armor in Europe.
The brigade equipment, about 2,800 vehicles and containers, is scheduled to move from Bremerhaven by rail, commercial line haul and military convoy to training areas at Drawsko Pomorskie and Zagan, Poland, where the brigade will consolidate before relocating units across countries from Estonia to Bulgaria beginning in February.
"This is a tangible sign of the United States' commitment to maintaining peace on this continent," said Maj. Gen. Timothy McGuire, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Europe. "It is a sign of the U.S. commitment to this alliance and to peace and prosperity in Europe."
Showing that commitment will involve training with seven countries for the duration of the rotation. Following the initial consolidation the brigade headquarters; brigade engineering and support battalions; 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment; and 4th Squadron, 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, will operate from existing Polish military installations in Zagan, Swietoszow, Skwierzyna, and Boleslawiec. 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, will move to the Baltic nations and remain positioned there until NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence, or eFP, battle groups are in place and then will rotate throughout Europe to participate in exercises as requested.
The 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, will support Atlantic Resolve activities primarily in Bulgaria and Romania. The 1st Battalion 66th Armor Regiment "Iron Knights", will move to Grafenwöhr Training Area, Germany, where it will conduct training and maintenance to build and sustain readiness.
"The best way to maintain peace is preparation," McGuire said. "The more we work together [with our allies], the better prepared we are."
The movement from the United States was, itself, the initial training event for the unit in Europe. The arrival of the shipped equipment also trained the U.S. Army Soldiers in Europe from 21st Theater Sustainment command who coordinated the move from Germany to Poland.
"It's the first deployment of an armor brigade for nine months in many, many years," said Maj. Gen. Duane A. Gamble, commanding general, 21st Theater Sustainment Command. "As we have responded to aggression in the East, we have rotated units into Germany and into Poland and out over the last few years.
They have come for four months, six months or shorter periods of time. This is the first one that will come for nine-months and stay. It's the first one that has brought its own equipment with them. So, in terms of training, what better training than to have a unit leave Fort Carson, move to a seaport in Texas, load its equipment on three vessels…and then deploy their Soldiers by air. It's an absolutely exquisite training event."
The unit will have a capstone training event in Poland in July. They will be replaced in September by another armor brigade, with one unit arriving and 3/4ABCT returning to Fort Carson, Colorado.