MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania -Soldiers with the 1st Battalion "Vanguard," 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, officially marked their arrival to Romania with a ceremony on the parade field here, Oct. 23, 2017.
Col. Claudiu-Mihail Sava, commander of the Romanian Land Forces 282nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade; Col. Petru Eduart Dodu, commander of the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base; Col. Jim McGlaughn, commander of the Black Sea area support team; Mr. Costin-Ioan Rasauteanu, deputy mayor of Constanta, Romania and several other distinguished visitors attended the ceremony to welcome the "Big Red One" soldiers as they start their nine-month deployment in support of Atlantic Resolve.
"Fellow service members, of all services, and nations' representatives, thank you for attending today's ceremony," said Col. Pete Moon, commander of the 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt., during his speech. "I am a 'Big Red One' soldier proudly serving our nation's 1st Division, and it is an honor to serve here in Mihail Kogalniceanu for a unified and strong Europe."
"It is a privilege to stand here as a commander of 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt., during our historic return to Europe. 100 years ago our regiment fought with our allies to ensure the security of Europe, and today we celebrate the return of the 18th Inf. Regt. and we are honored to join this team," he added.
Integrating his soldiers with the Romanian 282nd Mechanized Inf. Bde., and with other allied forces throughout Europe, the Vanguard battalion is deployed as part of the second iteration of an armored brigade combat team in eastern Europe to support the Atlantic Resolve mission. These rotations provide a continuous, "heel to toe" armored presence in Europe to deter any real or potential aggression against NATO Allies and regional partners.
Ensuring the 2nd ABCT can effectively and efficiently support the Atlantic Resolve mission, they brought more than 250 soldiers and various equipment to Poland and Romania to demonstrate the United States commitment to sustain collective combat readiness, while conducting bilateral training with their Romanian counterparts to enhance their interoperability as a combined force.
"We are replacing the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment and we will continue the partnership activities they started, to sustain and demonstrate our readiness," said Moon. "The way we will accomplish this is through individual warfighting task all the way up to collective training task at the larger echelons that we will specifically do this with the Romanian 282nd Mechanized Inf. Bde."
"Every training event will be executed alongside our Romanian allies, which allows us to integrate equipment and capabilities so we can learn about each other's limitations, build a professional relationship together and develop a common operating picture so we can effectively 'fight' together as a team," Moon proclaimed.
The continuous effort of training with NATO allies and partners to implement innovative solutions to common problems improves combined capabilities, highlights the collective commitment to the security of Eastern Europe and showcases the dynamic deterrence presence of a unified and strong Europe.