MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania -- The connexes are being loaded, duffel bags are being packed, and the crews are conducting pre-flight checks on their helicopters as they prepare to head home after a nine-month training rotation in Europe.
Last June, Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division left their desert home at Fort Bliss, Texas, and set out for Europe where they would spend the next nine months training in support of Atlantic Resolve.
"We came here to strengthen our alliance with our European partners," said 1st Lt. Jacob Tappe, a platoon leader in Bravo Company, 3rd Bn., 501st Aviation Regt.
Tappe said that during his unit's time in Europe they had the chance to grow as a force and flex their capabilities by training with our allies, and operating in various NATO countries.
After arriving in Germany, the Soldiers received their helicopters from the German port of Bremerhaven, and then flew them to Illesheim, Germany for maintenance and training.
From Illesheim, the battalion generated their combat power by moving the companies to different locations in Europe. Alpha Company flew up to Latvia to train, while Charlie Company flew down to Romania. Bravo Company, or "Beast Assault" as they are known, initially stayed in Germany.
"We replaced Charlie Company here in November," said Tappe.
During their time in Romania, the Soldiers participated in several multi-national training exercises. One of those exercises was Platinum Lion 17.1, which took place in Bulgaria in December.
"We trained alongside the (U.S.) Marines as well as forces from nine other countries from Eastern Europe," said Tappe.
Tappe said that being able to work with other nations armed forces improved both his unit's ability to work with others, as well as increased the tactical strength of his Soldiers.
For many of the Soldiers, the most rewarding thing about training in Europe was the opportunity to fly on terrain they were not used to.
"Europe is not a desert," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Barnett, Bravo Company, 3rd Bn., 501st Aviation Regt. "It was good training to practice tactical maneuvers and decisive actions in this type of terrain."
Once the unit, and its equipment gets back to Fort Bliss, the Soldiers will begin collective training in support of a battalion level exercise that will take place in late summer.
"We have been split up as a battalion, so it will be good to train as a whole again," said Tappe.
Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.
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.