BOLESLAWIEC, Poland - The citizens of Poland formally welcomed American Soldiers assigned to 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during a ceremony in the town square here Feb.5, 2017.
The Soldiers arrived in Poland in January to begin back-to-back rotations of armored brigades in Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Col. Christopher Norrie, commander of 3rd ABCT began by thanking the locals for their hospitality and kindness upon the unit's arrival.
"This is yet another example of the very warm welcome that our team has received here and throughout Poland," he said. "On behalf of our entire team, particularly the Soldiers of the 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion, we give our most sincere thanks for your generosity and friendship."
The ceremony was a celebration, which included song and dance performances by American Soldiers, Polish children performing traditional dances, a physical fitness competition, and displays of U.S. and Polish vehicles and equipment. The highlight of the day was the American-made chili, which garnered a long line and accolades from the Polish citizens.
"This soup is really good," one Polish citizen told a Soldier as he placed the cover over the last of the empty containers.
Lt. Col. George Mitroka, commander of 588th BEB, said the Soldiers of the unit had been working on this event for the past two weeks. "I really appreciate the hard work the Soldiers and the community put forth with helping us to achieve such a successful event."
Mitroka recently took command of the 588th and says his battalion spent six-months prior to this rotation preparing to adequately support the brigade's ability to continue the fight. The unit, which consists of not only engineers, but military intelligence, chemical, communication and medical personnel as well "are the enablers for the brigade," he said.
This rotation will enhance deterrence capabilities in the region, improve the U.S. ability to respond to potential crises and defend allies and partners in the European community. U.S. forces will focus on strengthening capabilities and sustaining readiness through bilateral and multinational training and exercises.
"The formation before you stands as a visible and credible expression of the American commitment to you, our friends and allies," said Norrie. "This greater collection of Polish and American Soldiers stand together and reflect an even more powerful idea that there are things in this world worth defending and the best way to prevent a war is to prepare for it."
Iron Brigade is currently in the process of moving Soldiers and equipment to Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania. The 588th will have Soldiers represented in all of these countries.
"Our onward movement of our team strengthens our resolve across all of Eastern Europe in an effort to deter any acts of aggression against Poland and our other NATO allies," said Norrie.