CAMP ADAZI, Latvia -- The Latvian Land Forces Infantry Brigade welcomed Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, during a ceremony at Camp Adazi, Latvia, Feb. 17, 2017.
Lt. Col. Stephen Capehart, commander, 1-68 AR, and Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Butler, command sergeant major, 1-68 AR, uncased the unit colors symbolizing the arrival and readiness of 1-68 AR "Silver Lions" to begin training with allied nations here in the Baltic region.
The Soldiers of 1-68 AR, based out of Fort Carson, Colo., replaced the Paratroopers of 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, 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.
"Those colors now unfurled here signify not only our service to Operation Atlantic Resolve but a visible, credible expression of our nation's commitment to our allies," said Capehart. "We're fully ready to take action if needed, to preserve our shared interests in the security and peace in this vital part of the world."
The arrival of 1-68 AR marks the beginning of continuous U.S. armored brigade presence within the European theater. The "heal-to-toe" rotations will continue for the foreseeable future with the goal of enhancing readiness while providing unique training opportunities with multinational counterparts.
"They have welcomed us with open arms," said Butler. "I cannot speak enough to the professionalism of their forces and how pleased we are to be working with them."
Following the conclusion of the ceremony, U.S. and Latvian soldiers charged ahead together as partners completing a brief esprit de corps run through Camp Adazi.
"We will forge this unity, an alliance where we work together," said Latvian Col. Ilmars Atis Lejins, commanding general of the Latvian Land Forces Infantry Brigade, "We will forge a friendship between the two countries and armed forces. We will demonstrate the motto of the Latvian Land Forces 'strength in unity.'"
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.