By Staff Sgt. Corinna BaltosFebruary 2, 2017
TRZBIEN, Poland -- In a little less than a day and a half the Soldiers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division completed a logistical feat; they loaded a company's worth of fighting vehicles onto rail cars in Poland to be shipped to Estonia.
The load-out was supposed to take two days.
"It's pretty amazing," said Capt. Edward Bachar, commander Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment. "Over the last day and a half, we have uploaded nearly 80 pieces of equipment onto rail cars, and all of our primary combat platforms moved onto the cars by their own power."
Bachar attributed the feat to the diligence of the Soldiers who ensured their vehicles were in good working order when they arrived in Poland earlier this month.
"After the vehicles arrived in Poland we made sure they were fully operational," Bachar said. Once the vehicles were operational, the Soldiers began firing their weapons systems to make sure that the crews and vehicles were ready to train.
Both the vehicles and the Soldiers are expected to arrive in Estonia Friday. Once they arrive, the Soldiers will immediately start training with their NATO partners.
"We are going to begin our expert marksmanship training the week of Feb. 6," Bachar said.
OPERATION ATLANTIC RESOLVE
The movement of equipment and troops into and around Europe marks the beginning of a continuous rotation of armored brigade combat teams from the United States as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to collective security. It is designed to reassure NATO allies and partners in America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in the Ukraine.
The Estonia rotation is one of several operations taking place over the next few weeks involving units from the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, spreading outward from Poland to seven other countries in central and Eastern Europe as part of a persistent U.S. armored presence in the region.
Over the next few weeks, other combined-arms units in the brigade combat team will begin moving into Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.
With this movement into Estonia, Charlie Company is exhibiting the 3rd Brigade's ability to move freely from one NATO country to another, demonstrating how quickly the brigade could respond if called upon to support an allied nation.
In November, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, loaded around 2,800 pieces of equipment onto railcars in Colorado and shipped them to Beaumont, Texas, where they were placed on cargo ships bound for the port of Bremerhaven, Germany. The ships -- loaded with the ABCT's full set of heavy equipment -- arrived in early January in Germany, where they were loaded onto rail cars and shipped to Poland.
The Silver Lion's move into Estonia will enhance deterrence capabilities in the region and improve the U.S. ability to respond to a potential crisis and defend its allies and partners within the European community.