DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland -- In the early morning hours of a cold January morning American Soldiers stood by a railhead in north-east Poland waiting for a train. The train they were expecting was from the German port of Bremerhaven, and it was carrying equipment that will be used by the Soldiers as they conduct training in Eastern Europe over the next nine months.
Fifty-three track-vehicles including 18 Paladin self-propelled howitzers belonging to 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, arrived in the small town of Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland Jan. 9, 2017 after a three day journey across Germany.
"(These) are the first military vehicles on the ground in Poland," said Capt. Jacob Akin, the unit movement officer for 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment as he watched the vehicles being moved off the railhead.
The equipment was shipped to Germany from Fort Carson in mid-November via rail and cargo ship. On Jan. 6 it was loaded onto trains and then convoyed to Poland. It is part of nearly 2,800 pieces of military equipment that arrived at the German port of Bremerhaven earlier this month in support of the brigade's rotation.
"Anytime we can get our unit to pack up all of our stuff and deploy across oceans, it is great," said Maj. Daniel Sundberg, the executive officer for 3-29 FA. "Not only to show the strength of our military and how we are able to project our forces, but also for our soldiers to experience what it's like to train with other foreign militaries."
The Soldiers will spend about a month training as a battalion in Poland before pushing out their batteries to Germany and Romania where they will conduct training in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
"This is one part of our efforts to ensure the territorial integrity of our allies and maintain a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous, and at peace," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tim Ray, deputy commander of U.S. European Command, in prepared remarks.
This rotation will mark the start of a persistent presence in this region of Europe. The brigade will conduct exercises across the theater during the course of their nine-month rotation. Following their initial preparatory actions the brigade will conduct training with our Allies in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. The rotational elements in these countries will not be permanently stationed there, but will provide a persistent presence across the theater, routinely moving and massing for exercises and training events.