BEMOWO PISKIE, Poland - Task Force Raider, part of the Tennessee Army National Guard has officially assumed responsibility of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence, Battle Group Poland, during a transfer of authority ceremony at Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, Sept. 20.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Donny Hebel, commander of the Tennessee Army National Guard's 2nd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Task Force Raider) assumes command of Battle Group Poland from U.S. Army Lt. Col. Timothy Wright, commander of 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment (War Eagles).

The arrival of 2/278th ACR marks the first rotation of a U.S. Armored Task Force under NATO providing presence along the eastern border of Poland.

"Our presence strengthens the defensive capability within Poland," said Hebel. "And is evidence of continued US commitment to NATO, as well as the deterrence of aggression."

Among the distinguished guests were the Polish Minister of National Defense Mariusz B´┐Żaszczak, the Tennessee Army National Guard's Adjutant General Terry 'Max' Haston, the Tennessee State Command Sergeant Major Michael Gentry and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Todd Wasmund, the Commander of the Mission Command Element.

"This is a historic event," said Haston. "The United States has not had heavy forces this far here in Europe since November of 1989. We are bringing a lot of disciplined fire power here to Poland. This mission shows that we have not taken our eye off of our Eastern European allies. We are here in defense and deterrence against Russian provocation; it simply will not be taken lightly."

Battle Group Poland (BGPOL) is a unique, multinational battle group comprised of U.S., U.K., Croatian and Romanian Soldiers who serve with the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade as a defense and deterrence force in northeast Poland in support of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence.

"We stand ready to take the reins and continue the mission with our NATO partners," said Hebel, the new commander of BGPOL. "We are a group of highly motivated individuals chosen to improve interoperability by strengthening relationships and trust among Allied armies. I look forward to leading this enhanced Forward Presence with our fellow nations and with our host nation, Poland."