L'VIV, Ukraine-U.S. and Polish forces gathered together this week to honor the fallen of both nations during a wreath-laying service held in conjunction with Polish Armed Forces Day on Aug. 15.
The ceremony took place at the Defenders of Lwów Memorial, located approximately 50 kilometers from where members of the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, known as Task Force Creek, and members of the Polish contingent, known as Task Force White Eagle, are currently working together in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.
The memorial, built in remembrance of Polish and U.S. troops who fought together nearly a century ago during the Polish-Soviet war between 1919 and 1921, held special relevance for members of Task Force Creek, who share a more recent combat history with Task Force White Eagle.
In 2012, the 1st Bn., 279th Inf. Regt. served under the 17th Mechanized Brigade of the Polish Army in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.
Fittingly, Col. Charles Booze and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Miller, who currently serve as part of the JMTG-U command team, served as the commander and command sergeant major for Task Force Creek during the Afghanistan deployment.
It demonstrates the reliable nature of our relationship with Poland-U.S. troops fought alongside the Poles almost 100 years ago, then the 279th Inf. Regt. served under the Polish during Operation Enduring Freedom and now, the 45th IBCT and Task Force White Eagle are working together again in Ukraine, Booze said.
In 2012, the primary mission of Task Force Creek under the Polish Army's 17th Mechanized Brigade in Afghanistan was to sustain, secure and build forward operating bases and combat outposts in preparation for follow-on forces, explained Miller.
Now, Task Force Creek and Task Force White Eagle, along with Canadian, Lithuanian, U.K., and Danish troops, are united once again in support of the JMTG-U, a coalition dedicated to building the professionalism and increasing the training capacity of the Ukrainian army through the establishment of a combat training center.
As Ukraine's first NATO-style training center, the CTC will allow Ukraine to have greater interoperability with partner nations, such as the U.S. and Poland, in the future.
"It's a privilege to once again serve alongside our partners in Task Force White Eagle and the Polish Armed Forces," Booze said. "The Polish soldiers we have worked with, both in Ukraine and Afghanistan, are outstanding coalition partners."